The latest outlook from the Federal Reserve regional surveys shows low prices, severe weather, and trade tensions continue to weigh heavily on large segments of the agricultural economy. Politico says the Fed gathers information eight times a year on economic conditions in its 12 districts to make up its Beige Book Report. For example, southeastern states faced “abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.” Cash prices were lower for cotton, rice, soybeans, broilers, and eggs compared to last year. Farm conditions remained “weak” in the Ninth District, which includes much of the Upper Midwest. Severe flooding in South Dakota and southern Minnesota is expected to heavily impact planting. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago oversees much of the Corn Belt, saying low corn and soybean prices remain a big problem for growers in that region. The Fed’s farm contacts also expect soybean prices to remain low. That means the corn-soybean acreage totals could be closer to a more typical 50-50 split after soybean acres jumped higher in 2018.
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