What will be the Ag Issues in 2014?

When it comes to the big issues for U.S. agriculture – farmers and ranchers can’t help but hope that Congress gets more done in 2014 than 2013. American Farm Bureau chief economist Bob Young thinks one of their first orders of business will be passing the farm bill…

“I am optimistic that they are going to be able to get this done in the first few weeks of the year. If they don’t we will have to have other legislative action to go back and deal with the dairy issue again.”

He believes the Congress will pass the Water Resources Development Act in fairly short order – too – and that tax issues will be getting a lot of attention – as will immigration reform…

“That is tough to call. If it does get done, its going to get done in a number of smaller bills on the House side that would then be mashed up with the much larger bill on the Senate side. It’s really tough to figure out how that would come together in an election year.”

Young also expects agriculture to face some economic hurdles…

“The prices that we will talk about this year for corn for example, are a few dollars a bushel less than where they were last year and just at the point where costs will be covered but there will not be much of a return. Its very different than what you had in 2013. Livestock is a very different story. We will talk about higher cattle and hog prices. Poultry prices will probably move as well. There will be noticeably lower feed costs putting them in much better shape this year than last.”

And Young says as interest rates start to creep higher – farmers and ranchers should be very careful about taking on any new debt.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

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