Strongest farm outlook in years, say ag bankers
Farm income and land values surged in the closing months of 2020, lifted by higher commodity prices and large federal payments, according to farm lenders across the Midwest and Plains. With the commodity rally expected to persist, the farm economy was in its best shape in years, said the Federal Reserve regional banks in Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis.
Sen. Baldwin to oversee USDA, FDA budgets
Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin will chair the Senate Appropriations subcommittee in charge of USDA and FDA spending for the next two years, announced the committee leaders.
WTO chooses first woman and African as director general
With a Trump administration objection out of the way, the WTO members selected Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian, as its director general effective March 1. She will take office at a time of challenge for the organization.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Farmworker hazard pay: The Coachella City County in Southern California included farmworkers in an ordinance ordering a $4-an-hour “hero pay” increase for essential workers, becoming the first city to require the premium for ag labor. (Palm Springs Desert Sun)
Fertilizer subsidy ruling: After a months-long investigation, the Commerce Department determined that Morocco and Russia unfairly subsidized exports of phosphorus fertilizer, opening the possibility of U.S. tariffs on the goods. (DTN/Progressive Farmer)
Spending stimulus checks: A nationwide survey found that U.S. households allocated the largest share of their $1,200-a-person stimulus payment last spring “toward nondurable goods, especially food,” suggesting that additional payments would alleviate part of the burden of the pandemic, say researchers. (Choices)
Rural job loss: Rural areas had 3.2 percent fewer jobs in December than they did a year earlier, part of the nationwide decline in the final months of 2020 as the pandemic limited economic revival. (Daily Yonder)
Projections go wrong: The USDA’s projections of plantings several years into the future repeatedly have underestimated the amount of land planted to soybeans and overestimated wheat sowings, say its analysts. (Economic Research Service)
ON THE CALENDAR
USDA releases its annual Agricultural Projections report, covering expected production, consumption and prices for major agricultural commodities in the United States and worldwide. USDA released part of the 10-year baseline, on its macroeconomic assumptions and U.S. crop and livestock, last November.
The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 26th annual National Ethanol Conference online, through Thursday.
The National WIC Association holds National Policy Conference online, through Friday.
Top Producer summit, with theme “Breaking new ground,” through Wednesday, Nashville. An online version of the summit will be held Feb. 23-25.
American Frozen Food Institute holds annual conventions online, through Feb. 26.
USDA holds its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum online, through Thursday. Highlight of the opening day is a speech by USDA chief economist Seth Meyer on “2021 agricultural economic and foreign trade outlook,” 8 a.m. ET. At present, the USDA forecasts strong farm income in 2021, aided by recovery from the pandemic, and near-record farm exports of $152 billion this fiscal year, including the largest-ever sales to China. Meyer is expected to update the USDA forecast of farm exports as part of the speech.
Final day of USDA’s Outlook Forum; traditionally, the USDA provides updates, as warranted, of its projections for U.S. crop and livestock production and usage. Four ag leaders — president Chuck Connor of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, president Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation, president Rob Larew of the National Farmers Union and chief executive Krysta Harden of the US Dairy Export Council — discuss “Hot topics in food and agriculture,” 8:30 a.m. ET.
USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed and annual Farms and Land in Farms reports, 3 p.m. ET.
National Bison Association holds winter conferences online and in person, through Saturday, Rapid City, South Dakota.