Monday, August 24, 2020

Farmers pessimistic about the present but optimistic about the future as Trump administration tees up for convention

Farmers had hoped 2020 would help them make up for two bad seasons (due to the trade war with China and record wet weather), but amid forecasts of a bumper crop of soybeans and corn in most of the Midwest, the situation has grown worse for many farmers, since prices remain low, Kirk Maltais reports for The Wall Street Journal.

Compared to their "drought-stricken and wind-blown Iowa counterparts," for example, Illinois producers are well off, but the University of Illinois says they will get small returns on soybeans and take small losses on corn— and only if more U.S. Department of Agriculture relief payments arrive, Dan Looker reports for Successful Farming.

The Trump administration will likely tout its support for farmers and rural America during the Republican National Convention this week. Trump "can point to his new trade pact with Canada and Mexico that went into force last month and included some modest wins for dairy producers, wheat growers and other ag sectors, as well as his dismantling of the Obama administration’s waters-of-the-U.S. rule and the unprecedented bailout payments he’s issued to farmers," Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico's Weekly Agriculture.

However, McCrimmon notes, Trump's "tariff fights and ethanol policies have been painful for many farmers and manufacturers, and rural communities have been hit hard by the pandemic and recession."

Farmer attitudes nationwide are a mixed bag. According to the latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index, "farmers have a record-low attitude about their current plight but show strong optimism for the future," Greg Horstmeier reports. "The latest survey, conducted Aug. 6-14, also shows some potential waning in support for the Trump administration."

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