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Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington

“Ag Challenges”

Hello, everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now today’s commentary-

Ag challenges – the whole global landscape is in such turmoil it is hard to predict where our ag industry is going. We will be planting this year’s crop soon. Livestock markets along with grain have been erratic. The USDA Ag Outlook Forum just wrapped up with their predictions. Ag exports are to set a record $183 billion this year. Prices now are in record territory. But the Forum projects price moderation. Corn will go down by $.45 to $5 per bushel. Soybeans down to $12.75 per bushel. Wheat is expected to fall by $.50 per bushel. Hogs are projected to hold pretty steady, and cattle should go up.

With the war in Ukraine and the global supply chain problems, I cannot believe that we will see a decline in livestock and grain prices. Ukraine is a big producer of wheat and corn. With the war, will they even be able to plant this year’s corn crop? Will they be able to harvest their wheat? The sanctions on Russia are taking a seriously costly toll on that country, and they produce 15% of the wheat in the world. Secretary Vilsack spoke and was more optimistic. He said, “I believe that the outlook for agriculture is bright, strong, and positive.” We hope he is right. Our export is strong and at this moment prices are in record territory. But let’s not forget, government farm payments this year will be half of what they were last year when hit by the virus. And we may not be able to sustain these good farm prices. If that is true, we need to sell some of this year’s crop now. I know, we haven’t even planted it. We still need to gamble a little. Farming is the biggest gamble there is. We can’t control the crazy world.

We have our own challenges here at home in the U.S. inflation is raging. Just look at our energy prices. Our national debt is surging higher. We don’t bring in the taxes to pay our debt. “Billionaires pay lower taxes than their secretaries.” That’s what Warren Buffet said. Elon Musk, the second richest person in the world, paid no federal income taxes in 2018. We need to fix our tax code. It isn’t fair to our hardworking men and women.

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The views expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not necessarily those of nor the Southern Farm Network.