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U.S. Farm economy

  • The Senate Agriculture Committee passed two bills on Wednesday dealing with the regulation of the cattle industry, an activist organization specializing in research about agricultural subsides reports that the government paid a record $41.6 billion in a variety of subsidies to farmers in 2020, double the amount they received in 2018, and reintroduction of wolves in Colorado remains a controversial topic with livestock producers.
  • Cold, wet conditions delay corn and soybean planting in the Midwest, drought conditions intensify in the Four Corners, the USDA is projecting that food prices will rise up to 6% this year, satellites detect methane emissions from cows, the EPA issues an emergency waiver that allows summertime sales of gasoline blends with 15 percent ethanol, and the Biden administration proposes a $500 million program to encourage farmers to boost production of wheat, soybeans, rice, and other commodities.
  • Drought continues to challenge farmers and ranchers across the country, hay production in the U.S. may fall to its lowest level in a century, volatility in commodity markets begins to settle, and a new farm business index shows signs for optimism.
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to affect grain prices, and could worsen global hunger, causing some to recommend the USDA open millions of acres of idle croplands in the U.S. The USDA is projecting that food prices will rise further in 2022, and John Deere will end the requirement that only Deere-certified technicians can complete work on the company’s farm equipment.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine is pushing food prices higher, disrupting seasonal agriculture in the area, and pushing futures grain markets up. A high pathogenic avian influenza has been reported in 14 states in the U.S. And March 7th to the 11th is American Farm Bureau Ag Safety Awareness Program Week.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine is affecting commodity futures markets for both corn and wheat, and could affect fertilizer prices if an embargo goes into place. And a recent report points out the downside of confined feeding operations that can house hundreds of animals in small areas.
  • New research shows corn ethanol and other biofuels are not cutting carbon emissions overall, soil loss from cultivated cropland in the U.S. continues to be a problem, and recently published data show that 2021 saw the highest level of U.S. agricultural exports ever.
  • Fertilizer and herbicide costs skyrocket for farmers, product innovation aims to curb methane emissions from cattle, and the Colorado State University Extension offers presentations on a variety of agriculture-related topics for local producers.
  • USDA reports show that fewer cows will likely lead to higher beef costs, while the overall farm economy might be more robust than expected. Climate change leads to higher insurance payments to farmers for floods and drought, and vertical farming starts to see some investment.
  • Good economic conditions in agriculture led to the lowest non-real estate agriculture lending in nearly a decade, John Deere demonstrates their first fully autonomous tractor, and the EPA will now consider the Endangered Species Act when evaluating new pesticides.