Good morning! This is Bob Bragg. Welcome to the April 23rd edition of Farm News and Views
The Creighton University Rural Main Street Index, which provides indicators of economic conditions in small, rural communities, reported that the economy is expanding outside of agriculture, but in April the borrowing index climbed to 81.3. This is the highest level of farm loans since the survey was started in 2006.
Farmers and ranchers have been in the eye of the storm for over a year, when it comes to trade deals. The U. S. International Trade Commission analysis of the U. S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement indicates that the deal will provide a small bump to the U.S. economy. The analysis concluded that the U.S. Gross Domestic Product would rise by point 35% by the sixth year after the trade pact takes effect, and it would create 176,000 jobs, increasing employment by point 12%. Whether this will be enough to encourage the House of Representatives to ratify the deal is uncertain. Various agricultural commodity groups hope that trade with our two largest trading partners will be restored sooner rather than later, because, for example, the National Pork Producers Council points out that pork exports to Mexico fell by 32 percent this year due to punitive tariffs.
RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, the research arm of Rabobank recently released a report, titled, Hemp is Hot Right Now: Is it Worth the Risk? The report points out that the U.S. hemp industry is poised for growth, but there are serious financial, regulatory and agronomic risks that farmers and investors should understand before they take action. Risks include: Last week, I reported on some national trends highlighted by the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture. So this week, let’s take a look at agricultural production closer to home. Considering the top five agricultural enterprises in Arizona, New Mexico Utah and Colorado, we find a lot of similarity between all four states. The total income from cattle and calves is nearly 5.9 billion dollars, and Colorado leads with almost 4 billion dollars income. Milk production generates about 3.2 billion dollars in revenues, with New Mexico leading in that category with nearly 1.3 billion dollars in sales. Hay accounts for 1.2 billion dollars in revenue from the four states. Arizona’s top agriculture commodity, vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes generates just over one billion dollars.
Complete 2017 Census of Agriculture statistics can be found at nass.usda.gov/AgCensus/
With all of the political rhetoric we hear today, a quote by ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras seems appropriate. “A fool is known by his speech: and a wise man by silence.”
Until Next Week. I’m Bob Bragg.