Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Report: economy could grow at fastest rate in 40 years, with agriculture sharing in the recovery

American farmers are sharing in a robust economic recovery from the pandemic, according to the most recent quarterly CoBank report. The GDP could grow by 7 percent in 2021, its fastest rate since 1984, the report projects. 

"Many in the agricultural industry are experiencing the best market conditions since 2013," says the report. "Prices are hovering near multiyear highs as strong exports and dwindling supplies have solidified a healthy outlook for much of the farm economy."

The Agriculture Department has projected record exports of $157 billion in 2021, a 16% increase from last year, and overall farm income is predicted to be 20% higher than its 10-year average as farmers bring in more revenue and rely less on direct federal aid, the report says.

Fertilizer prices have almost doubled from a year ago, and "financially strong" farmers are planning to plant 3% more corn, soybean and wheat, which should bring more business to farm supply retailers. But drought remains a concern in a few parts of the Upper Midwest, according to the report.

President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure package could prove transformative to the long-term rural economy if approved, since it would bring hundreds of billions of dollars to expand and upgrade the electrical grid, water systems, broadband connection, and strengthen more traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges and dams, wrote CoBank vice president Dan Kowalski.

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