In looking ahead last January at what 2020 might hold for Nebraska agriculture Tidbits said, “Last year (2019) was a struggle for agriculture on many fronts. Probabilities would suggest 2020 should be an improvement.” The statement turned out to be prophetic in terms of improving farm income, although the path to improvement was rather circuitous and not straight and narrow. A trade agreement with China in January promised a positive start, but the COVID-19 outbreak in March resulted in ethanol plant and meat processing shutdowns, dramatic shifts in food demand, and severe price declines. The year exited with growing exports to China, production concerns in other parts of the world, and surging prices.
Tidbits will start 2021 with a three-part series on the financial state of Nebraska farms and ranches in the wake of 2020. This week’s edition will focus on net farm income. Next week’s edition will turn to other measures of underlying financial conditions. And, the final installment will look ahead to 2021. Bets are now being placed on whether Tidbits will be as prophetic for 2021 as it was for 2020.