Welcome to Agriculture Economic Tidbits, a weekly e-newsletter (emailed Mondays) for farmer and rancher members of Nebraska Farm Bureau. Agriculture Economics Tidbits will provide you with timely tidbits of economic information and policy analysis focused on Nebraska’s largest industry, agriculture, and its key players, Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.  The newsletter will break down global and national economic trends and what they mean for Nebraska agriculture, stay abreast of latest market movements, and provide the latest results from Farm Bureau research on current policy issues like property taxes, school funding, farm programs and international trade—all with the goal of helping you maintain a viable farming or ranching operation.

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The record operating margins for packers following the fire at the Tyson facility in Holcomb, Kansas, elevated ongoing concerns in the cow/calf sector regarding the share ranchers receive of the retail value of beef.

The Kansas City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank published its latest edition of The Nebraska Economic Databook on October 21.

President Reagan used to say that if the game Trivial Pursuit were designed by economists, the game would have 100 questions and 3,000 answers.

“People have been generally moving out of cities and rural areas, and into suburbs, as suburbs have seen net increases in migration of at least 2 million since 1987. But this year, for the first time since 1998, rural areas drew more residents from cities and suburbs than they lost.” Americans are moving less than ever before, Jeff Andrews, Curbed, Nov. 22, 2019

An astute reader caught an error in last week’s story concerning USDA beef market projections. The story mistakenly reported this year’s production, imports and exports in “million” pounds, when the figures should have been reported in “billion” pounds. The corrected language is:

Continuing with the theme of USDA projections for livestock markets, this week Tidbits turns its attention to pork.

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, which measures agriculture producers’ sentiment regarding the agricultural economy, posted a gain in October to a reading of 136.

Signup for the 2018 Farm Bill programs began September 3 and ends March 15 of next year.

Figure 2. Share of Disposable Personal Income Spent on Food in U.S.

Chart of the Month

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 34th annual survey of traditional food items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for ten people is $48.91, a one cent increase from last year. That is less than $5.00 per person.

Easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics can be found here.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Nov. 15 the second round of market facilitation payments (MFP) will be distributed to producers later this week.

Recent USDA projections show the U.S. beef trade surplus with the rest-of-the-world will grow in 2020 due to African Swine Fever (ASF) in Asia.

California implemented a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in 2010 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“For example, while farmers are expected and sometimes observed to adapt to the shifting long-run climate pattern, Dell, Jones, and Olken (2014) argue that certain governmental agricultural support programs (such as subsidized crop insurance program) could have reduced farmers’ incentives to adapt. Therefore, there could be a tradeoff between reducing farmers’ revenue risk and increasing agricultural productivity.” Sun Ling Wang, Eldon Ball, Richard Nehring, Ryan Williams, and Truong Chau; Impacts of Climate Change and Extreme Weather on U.S. Agricultural Productivity: Evidence and Projection; Working Paper 23533; National Bureau of Economic Research.

Tidbits does not include links to crop progress charts this week due to the Veterans Day holiday. Thanks to those who serve or have served in our nation’s armed forces. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”—Winston Churchill.

Friday’s USDA crop production estimates project Nebraska corn production will equal 1.77 billion bushels, down 1 percent compared to last year. The average corn yield for Nebraska is estimated at 182 bushels per acre, off 10 bushels from last year.

Links with California dominate Nebraska food flows according to research performed by researchers with the University of Illinois and Kansas State University. The analysis examined food flows between counties and Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) zones in the United States.

Another interesting aspect of the Xiaowen Lin et al. study were the estimates of corn flows between counties which were part of the analysis. Figure 2 illustrates corn flows between counties in several Midwest and Plains states including Nebraska and was taken from the study.

Come December, the world may be losing its forum for resolving trade disputes with the collapse of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement system. Next month, two appellant judges will fulfill their terms on the appellant body and must retire.

Easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics can be found here.

Tidbits highlighted the latest cash rent data for Nebraska a few weeks ago, but one story on cash rents just doesn’t do the topic justice. This week, changes in rental rates between 2017 to 2019 across Nebraska counties are highlighted.

A voluntary groundwater conservation program launched this year by the Tri-Basin Natural Resources District (TBNRD) seeks to use financial incentives to encourage irrigators to conserve water. In the program, the TBNRD will pay irrigators who enroll for a portion of water saved.

The University of Nebraska Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) are planning a series of Farm Bill education meetings in late November through December to assist producers as they begin to make farm bill related decisions.

Easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics can be found here.

Consolidation in production agriculture is evidenced by the growth of average farm size in Nebraska. According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, the average farm size in Nebraska increased 130 acres between 1997-2017, from 841 acres to 971 acres.

Nebraska extension will be hosting a series of risk management workshops for cattle producers across the state during November and December. The workshops will focus on strategies to reduce risk exposure and achieve a better financial outcome in uncertain times. The workshops will be held in Chadron, Sidney, Arthur, Columbus, and Broken Bow. The first workshop is scheduled November 5 and the final one December 9. The workshops will be held in the evenings. For more information on dates and times, and to register, go to: https://ssp.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_73Cig3Kobmr0rnD.

Commerce, like water, will find ways to seep through or work around government barriers. The current trade dispute between China and the United States is no different. Despite the tariffs levied by both countries designed to thwart or make trade and commerce more costly, private companies are adjusting in order to continue to conduct their businesses, albeit in a less efficient manner.

102819 CotM

Source: American Farm Bureau

102819 Hmmmm