Thursday, October 17, 2019

Federal Reserve's Beige Book notes economic trouble in farming sector because of weather, trade, and more

Federal Reserve Bank districts, with regional headquarters
In its recently released Beige Book, a summary of current economic conditions by Federal Reserve district, the Federal Reserve Board reports that agriculture is in trouble.

Farm conditions across the country "deteriorated further due to the ongoing impacts of adverse weather, weak commodity prices and trade disruptions," the report says.

Key farming regions, like the Corn Belt, are especially hurting. Seventh District industry sources interviewed by the Federal Reserve "had mounting concerns about how much of this year’s crop would be able to fully mature before a hard frost hits," according to the report.

In states like Missouri and Arkansas, farm conditions have declined "modestly" since the last report on Sept. 4, and there has been a sharp drop in corn, rice and soybean production. "The outlook among contacts remained relatively pessimistic due to depressed commodity prices and trade uncertainty," says the report.

Heavy rains in the Upper Midwest hurt crop planting, and may harm harm harvests. "Recent forecasts indicated that corn and soybean production in [Ninth] District states may decrease 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively, in 2019 compared with last year," according to the report, noted  by Ryan McCrimmon in Politico's "Morning Agriculture."

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