Minding Ag's Business

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  • For the fourth year in a row, USDA expects crop incomes to decline in 2016, based on forecasts released today. The main good news for grain producers is that the steepest income declines since the Peak Corn-era are leveling off and savings in crop production costs are...

  • Crop insurance guarantees for 2016 won't offer much financial comfort, if preliminary prices for the first week of February are any indicator. Unless that scenario changes radically in the next few weeks, expect repercussions on how much operating credit lenders are willing...

  • The current farm program safety net--downsized as it is compared to past legislation--still could mean the difference between profit and loss for many farmers in 2016. So lenders and farm program specialists are urging growers not to overlook technicalities that affect...

  • In his two latest columns, DTN's Farm Business Adviser Lance Woodbury addresses ways to overcome the obstacles that hinder a transition from one generation to the next in a family business (subscribers see his column "Five Steps to a Better Exit" on the...

  • When Virginia Tech Economist (Emeritus) Dave Kohl speaks to farm audiences these days, he paces the stage like a nervous coach shouting plays before the clock runs out. His advice to attendees of Texas A&M's elite TEPAP program this week in Austin was to get 2016...

  • Renters report little change in average rental rates despite the commodity collapse and poor prospects for 2016.

    Final results are in for the latest DTN 360 online poll. On the question of how much cash rents have adjusted since commodity prices peaked in 2013, the answer is not much. As I mentioned in my last post (when counting tentative poll results), that bodes ill for high cost...

  • For the record, farm renters report a standoff in 2016 cash rent negotiations. That likely means even those paying "average" rents for their area will need to dig into farm savings to cover operating losses for the second or even third year in a row.

  • In his latest column, DTN's Farm Business Adviser Lance Woodbury addressed four obstacles that typically hinder transitions from one generation to the next in a family business (subscribers can find"Letting Go of the FamilyBusiness"on the Farm Business page).

  • Iowa farmland values bottomed in April and will end on a high note. Other Midwest states are steady.

    Don't be misled by news of "no sales" at auctions across the Midwest. Prices for low-quality land may be in the dumps, but good and excellent quality farmland seems to be retaining or even gaining in value so far.

  • DTN's Marcia Taylor queries wise men (from left) Don Cantrell, Matt Huie, Ben Riensche and Chris Johnson.

    Given dire forecasts for corn and other commodities' multi-year profit abyss (see my last post), it's worth hearing how some of agriculture's wise men plan to adapt to the new economics of crop production.

  • It's been a favorite quote on Twitter recently that $7 corn covered up problems and $3.50 corn exposed them. Bloated cost of production must be Problem #1.