February 23, 2020

Congressional Hearings; Budget-Climate Change; Cuba; and the MILC Program

House Ag Subcommittee Hearing: State of the Farm Economy

Yesterday, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing to review the state of the farm economy.

In his opening statement (Word document) to the Committee, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber noted that, “Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the economic outlook for U.S. agriculture. This time last year, the outlook picture was quite different than today: prices for most commodities were near record highs and rising; and farm exports and farm income were projected to be at record levels. There were concerns about whether there would be enough crop production to meet global demand. Livestock, dairy and poultry producers were seeing their operating margins squeezed, and food price inflation was being discussed with concern for the first time in almost 20 years.

“What a difference 12 months make. We have seen prices for most commodities fall 40-50 percent from their midyear peaks. The global economic slump has cast a pall on most markets and, while net cash income is projected at high levels relative to historical averages, there remains much uncertainty.”