Report 2-9-21

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be of interest to U.S. farmers and ranchers. The agency estimates that U.S. Farm farm income will be $111.4 billion this year, that’s 20% above the 10-year average. Economists point out the total farm income is a combination of sales of crops and livestock and direct government payments. Higher prices are expected for corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs, the major farm enterprises in the United States. But the total farm income will be $9.7 billion below last year’s farm income, because of a sharp decrease in federal payments, which the department expects will fall from a record $46 billion last year to about $25 billion in 2021. Sales of farm output is expected to boost farm receipts by $20.4 billion due to a $11.8 billion increase in crop sales plus an additional $8.6 billion in livestock receipts when compared to 2020. Some potential changes to farm income might include additional Covid-19 payments, and a USDA-backed carbon credit market that the Biden administration may create this year. However, these USDA projections seldom predict exactly how the year will turn out, since weather often impacts crop yields around the world, and in turn, affects farm gate prices.

The new administration appears to be looking at agricultural issues, since President Biden pointed out that, while starting a business in the U.S. is fairly simple, it’s much more difficult to start a farm. So Biden wants to expand the Obama administration’s microloan program for new and beginning farmers, by doubling the maximum loan amount to $100,000, and by increasing funding for the USDA’s farm ownership and operating loans, that can be used for purchasing livestock, seed and equipment, or covering farm operating costs and family living expenses, while a farm is being set up.

AgriBusiness Limited, a Farm Management Company is attempting to find individual, corporate and international clients that want to own or invest in agricultural property in New Zealand, a country with about 5 million people, and a slightly larger land area than the United Kingdom. The company points out that New Zealand has a lot to offer to people who are interested in farming. Some of the pluses include that the country is one of the most efficient producers of agricultural based products globally with mostly grass fed animals, and it has low cost of production and simple farming systems. Since agriculture is the backbone of New Zealand’s economy farmers are held in high regard by both the public and the government. And if these reasons haven’t sold you, they tout the moderate climate that’s suited for pasture and animal production, and they say that it’s a politically stable place where conservatives and liberals get along. If you’re someone who wants a change in scenery, check out agribusiness.kiw.

The January inventory of all cattle and calves in Colorado totaled 2.65 million head. That was down 4 percent from the January 2020 inventory, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Beef cow numbers at 659,000 head were down 112,000 head from 2020. Milk cows increased by 12,000 head to just over 200,000 and Colorado’s 2020 calf crop, at 790,000 head, was down 4 percent from 2019.

Ancient Greek story teller Aseop wrote, “It’s easy to be brave from a safe distance.”

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