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Sun Feb 17, 2019, 09:29 PM

Economic trends turn downward for farmers [View all]

Economic trends turn downward for farmers
By Millie Munshi and Shruti Date Singh / Bloomberg
Posted Feb 15, 2019 at 3:59 PM Updated Feb 15, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Read more here: https://www.theledger.com/news/20190215/economic-trends-turn-downward-for-farmers

(snips)
On Thursday, the farm belt’s malaise deepened after the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted soybean exports would stay below their pre-trade war levels until the 2026-2027 season. That followed a report that sales of the oilseed in early January had the worst week ever. And things didn’t end there: The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City warned that farm incomes were likely to have a weak start in 2019 and that credit was tightening at lenders.

“It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s not getting a lot worse quickly,” said Dan Kowalski, at farm lender CoBank Acb in Greenwood Village, Colorado. “It’s getting modestly worse over time.”

Some of the hurdles have been around for years. Consecutive seasons of bumper crops kept grain inventories flush. At the same time, U.S. meat production was soaring and dairies were overflowing. The supply boom meant prices stayed low for a long time, while robust demand kept things from falling off a cliff. In fact, farm income posted a 22 percent rebound in 2017.

Then came Donald Trump’s trade war.
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“The bailouts did help out some,” Lynn Rohrscheib, chairwoman of the Illinois Soybean Association, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television this week. “But most farmers, they just didn’t want that. We want to be able to grow our crop and receive a fair price.”

Rohrscheib said she knows of some producers who aren’t farming this year because of the tariffs, and that her family “took a $600,000 hit to our annual income” as a result of the trade war.
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Meanwhile, other Trump policies have also taken a bite of out of the farm economy.

A labor shortage , which some in the industry say is at least partly sparked by Trump’s tough stand on immigration, means employers have been forced to boost wages in the face of sluggish markets. On Thursday, U.S. poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. said it was increasing wages $50 million, year over year, to attract workers.

What will it take for farmers to finally see that Trump lies to them every time?...... ......

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