Thursday, June 06, 2019

Federal Reserve paints gloomy picture in corn and soy belts

Washington Post map; for a larger version, click on it
The Federal Reserve Bank painted a gloomy picture of Midwestern agriculture this week in its latest report on the economy. "The bank surveyed ag credit conditions and found that farm income and capital spending were down from the previous year — and likely to continue dropping for several months," Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico.

Farmers are struggling because of low commodity prices, tariffs, and planting problems due to the wet weather, according to the Federal Reserve's new Beige Book. The weather in the Corn Belt over the last 60 days has neared or broken previous precipitation records, and that soil will have to dry out for around a week before it can be planted, The Washington Post reports.

Planting for major crops like soy and corn is proceeding at the slowest pace on record, and some farmers may not be able to plant a crop at all this year. Adding to farmers' woes, the Agriculture Department has reportedly decided not to provide trade aid for unplanted acres, according to a government official with inside knowledge. The USDA has not confirmed or denied making a final decision.

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