A recently released report by the Federal Reserve may slightly dampen spirits for optimistic prospects ahead of this year’s farming season.
The report, issued earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, cautions those involved with agriculture to keep expectations in check in light of an analysis of various economic factors. There are, however, signs that severe damage to the rural economy could ebb somewhat.
“The outlook for agriculture remains downbeat but is beginning to show signs of stabilization,” wrote Fed economist Cortney Cowley.
Cowley said statistics indicate farm income may be impacted by such risks as higher inventories of corn and soybeans — keeping a lid on prices — and the lingering uncertainty of trade negotiations.
Against those predictions is an early regard for what sort of positive measures could be installed in the new Farm Bill. One of the earliest mentions at what changes might be fruitful surfaced at the Great Plains Growers Conference in early January. A participant asked Dr. John Ikerd, an emeritus professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, for his opinion.
“Eliminate all subsidies that relate to commodities,” Ikerd responded quickly to the question.
And at a meeting last week, the region’s corn growers were asked to complete a policy survey that in part asks what priorities should be included in the law.
The Missouri Corn Growers Association presented a list of priority issues to members, with a ranking of crop insurance protection as a possible lightning rod. Members also are tasked with prioritizing the bill among other important issues, such as ethanol and water quality.
Kim Atkins, vice president and chief operating officer of the U.S. Grains Council, reminded the corn growers that funding for the Double Market Access and Foreign Market Development programs have been typical components of the bill. She said both programs help further increased trade of the nation’s corn and several other commodities and enhance the council’s global presence.
Later, Atkins told News-Press Now she cannot comment on the council’s behalf pertaining to such proposals for the bill, since the council is not a policy organization.
“There are coalitions and proposed legislation that are looking to double these programs,” she added.
Dr. Scott Brown, an agricultural economist with MU, also spoke to the corn growers about the relevance of the Farm Bill to their plans for 2018.
Brown told the growers the question should be asked as to whether any changes should be recommended for the bill at all this year.