Farm Income Highest in Six Years, Because of Bailout – December 2, 2019

Farm income is highest in six years, thanks to Trump’s trade-war bailout


Fueled by $14.5 billion in Trump tariff payments, U.S. net farm income will climb to its highest total since the commodity boom crested in 2013. When crop insurance indemnities are added to “direct farm program payments,” the government will provide an unusually high 31 percent of farm income this year.


Cautious farmers dim Deere’s outlook for 2020

The world’s largest farm equipment maker, Deere and Co., expects sales of its agricultural equipment to decline by 5-10 percent globally in the year ahead due to lower demand for big machinery. “Lingering trade tensions coupled with a year of difficult growing and harvesting conditions have caused many farmers to become cautious about making major investments in new equipment,” said chief executive John May.



Higher food prices in small towns (Atlanta Journal-Constitution): Food-stamp benefits don’t stretch as far in rural Georgia as they do in cities because rural grocers, who have fewer competitors, charge more for items such as lettuce or macaroni and cheese.


Twice as costly as the auto bailout (Los Angeles Times): President Trump’s trade-war bailout of U.S. farmers could cost twice as much as the Obama-era rescue of the auto industry and the money is “mostly going to a bundle of states that are essential to his re-election chances.”


RFS delayed until winter (Politico): The EPA won’t announce the RFS for 2020 until “this winter,” says a spokesman, because the agency needs time to review comments on a supplemental rule that tries to offset the impact of exempting small refineries from the ethanol mandate.


‘A series of plagues’ ruined sugarbeets (Reuters): A wet spring and an icy fall ruined the sugarbeet crop for many growers in Red River Valley where Minnesota borders the Dakotas, freezing the crop into the ground and leaving farmers to pay penalties to processors for failure to deliver sugarbeets.


Decline? Yes. Crash? No. (AP): After years of large lobster harvests in Maine, scientists say the warmer waters engendered by climate change will pull down catches to “historical levels” but there still will be enough lobsters to support the fishing industry and to supply seafood lovers.




– UN holds climate change conference, COP25, the 25th annual “Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, which is tasked with making sure that the Convention, (and now the 2015 Paris Agreement, which strengthens the Convention), are being implemented,” through Dec. 13, Madrid. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says it “will be supporting countries to make sure that agriculture and food systems continue being part of the negotiations.”


– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tours Erickson Framing, which sells prefabricated building components, 11:20 a.m. MT, in Chandler, Arizona, and holds “fireside chat” with Arizona state agriculture director, 3 p.m. MT, Tempe.


– NFU holds “Growing for the Future,” a four-day, online conference that will focus “on the issues that today’s farmers and ranchers face,” through Thursday.


– USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.  Ordinarily, the USDA stops the report at the end of November but it said reports will continue into December because of the late harvest.


– Deadline for public comment on USDA proposal to standardize calculation of utility allowances as part of determining food stamp eligibility.


– Senate Health Committee votes on nomination of Dr. Stephen Hahn for FDA commissioner, 10 a.m. ET, 430 Dirksen.


– Purdue University releases the monthly Ag Economy Barometer, which provides a sense of the agricultural economy’s health.


– International Grains Council holds 50th council session, London.


– Senate Environment and Public Health subcommittee hearing on a bill to create a chronic wasting disease task force at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10 a.m., 406 Dirksen.


– UN Food and Agriculture Organization releases monthly Food Price Index, Rome.


– USDA releases Census of Agriculture data on specialty crops, noon ET.


– Final day to enroll in 2019 version of Trump tariff payments; signup began July 29. As of last week, the administration had paid $10.2 billion of the $16 billion that it earmarked for trade aid. The package included $14.5 billion for producers of row crops, specialty crops, and hogs and dairy. Two tranches of cash payments have been disbursed to producers and the final tranche of $3.6 billion may be released in January, depending on trade negotiations and market conditions.


– National Grain and Feed Association holds Country Elevator Conference and trade show, through Dec. 10, Indianapolis.


– USA Rice holds Outlook Conference, through Dec. 10, Stuttgart, Arkansas.


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