Economic Tidbits

Mixed Returns

This year will test crop producers. Lower prices will mean a struggle to achieve positive returns. Farm management experts at the University of Illinois project negative returns for Illinois crop producers. Cow/calf producers, with higher feeder calf prices and moderating costs, have a better opportunity for positive returns. Cattle feeders, though, will struggle. Dr. Brad Lubben, agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, once commented in reference to income forecasts that, “The one thing we do know is that we will be surprised, and something will happen.” No doubt the economy, politics, or global events will surprise us at some point. 2024 is an election year, not only in the U.S., but several other countries too. And Congress is supposed to tackle a 5-year farm bill. This year will test producers marketing and financial management skills and will have a few surprises of its own.

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