In Friday’s release of the latest supply & demand numbers from USDA, chief economist Joe Glauber expects more corn and soybean acres in 2013, driven by continued high prices:
“There are strong corn prices and strong soybean prices. They are not as high as they were in August, but they still point toward very strong plantings.”
And of course, the success of the future crop hinges on the weather:
“The real question will be what yields look like. A lot of the crop that is historically produced is in areas that are affected by drought now.”
And because of the big demand and current low stocks, projected prices aren’t much different than they are now.
Drought Also Affecting Saltwater Fishing
The drought is not just affecting farmers in South Carolina. The winter fishing season is not going well either because of the dry weather.
Larry Toomer with Bluffton Oyster Company reports crab harvesting is suffering because of the dry conditions, going on to explain the drought makes the seawater saltier and drives many crabs too far up freshwater rivers and creeks to be caught legally.
Plus, this is shrimp spawning season and if the estuaries are too crowded, there won't be enough food to grow a strong shrimp population.
USDA to Release 10-Year Projections Next Week
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release new 10-year ag projections today at 11 a.m. Eastern. USDA’s Agricultural Projections 2022 will be posted at www dot USDA dot gov slash OCE (www.usda.gov/oce). These projections are published each year in February and have been developed by interagency committees within USDA – led by the Economic Research Service. They cover crop and livestock commodities, agricultural trade and aggregate indicators through 2022. They are not a forecast – but a conditional, long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about farm policy – with normal weather assumed through the projected period.
Policy Analyst Offers Farm Bill Insight
Informa Economics Policy Analyst Roger Bernard says the 2012 Farm Bill debate was one of the ugliest in decades…
“This has really been a matter of everyone for themselves. Everyone has fought one another and it has resulted in not getting a farm bill. Because there was so much division between the ranks, it really disintegrated a lot of what is going on. That needs to change.”
With nutrition program spending accounting for more than three-quarters of the farm bill – there was some talk of pulling nutrition programs into a separate piece of legislation. Bernard says agriculture does not want that to happen…
“Not everyone has a farmer in their district, but everyone has an eater. Keeping that linkage there, maybe unfortunate, but its an important. The odds of getting something passed through congress that addresses 2% of our population are pretty slim, so you need to keep the nutrition linkage in there for now.”
Perhaps the biggest question right now is – when will Congress get to work on the farm bill? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he’s committed to making the farm bill a priority this year. But Bernard says the markup timeline is murky because of the ongoing budget discussions.
Return of Ag Census Forms Low
Every farm in America should have received an Ag Census form earlier this year – but only about 50-percent have replied. That's on track with past censuses.
While some producers may be hesitating due to privacy concerns – Census and Survey Division Director at USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Renée Picanso says federal law makes privacy a non-issue…
“All of the data that we collect is confidential via Title Seven of the US code. There is a significant fine of $250,000 to any employee of our agency who would divulge any information. Some producers have that concern that anyone can go and submit a Freedom of Information Act request and get my data, but that is not true with any Federal survey data or tax records."
That same federal law that protects the privacy of farmers also requires everyone who receives a census form to respond to it. Usually 85-percent of producers are counted in the census – however – Picanso says NASS has no budget to prosecute the 15-percent who generally don't reply.