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November 25, 2019
This week's article is a reprint from last Thanksgiving with added updates. In some respects, it is uncanny how little has changed one year later while at the same time, additional challenges (in parentheses) of the 2019 season have been included.
As we approach Thanksgiving and the opportunity to reflect on the things we can be thankful for, we in American agriculture have much to consider. Yes, it has been a long, tough harvest. (Harvest has not yet been completed in many places and certain regions can't even harvest all of this year's crops, not to mention the record setting wet and delayed planting season). Commodity prices have dropped to levels that bring no joy. There is no Farm Bill and we don't know when trade tariffs will be resolved. (Commodity prices are still low, but the Farm Bill was passed and Market Facilitation Program payments have infused much need cash into portions of agriculture. But, we still don't know when trade issues will be resolved and if US agricultural trade will get back to normal.)
But if you look at the bigger picture for what is happening now and that which will be good in the long, run, there are many positive things in American ag. US agriculture and its producers are the envy of the world. As world population grows and water resources become even more stretched, the United States is the most stable and most productive place in the world and it is where many turn to for investments in ag and food production. Americans have the incomes to afford a diversity of products produced by agriculture which is evidenced by the choices in the foods we eat.
We can't ignore those who will struggle through these below normal farm income years, but overall American agriculture in its various shapes and sizes will weather the downturn and look to the longer term for a bright future. (2019 has been one of the most challenging years ever for American agriculture across the nation and across products. Profit levels are not where they should be and finances are worsening for some. But the land market is steady in most areas and interest rates are low. And once harvest is done, American agriculture will look to next year for what everyone hopes is a "normal" year.)
Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations
|Category: Farm Management News|