The farm economy faces more uncertainty in 2019, according to American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist John Newton.
“We’re in a situation where on the grain side we’ve had excellent weather for six or seven straight years now,” Newton said. “We’ve had some challenges on the livestock front, I think 2019 will prove to be better for the dairy industry, but if you think about cattle and hogs and poultry, we’re going to have record production in 2019 there, so that’s going to put pressure on prices. The other thing to think about is that while cash receipts continue to increase, they were up 1.5%, costs of production were up 4.5%.”
Adding to a complex farm economy, uncertainty on trade, what markets will be open, what markets will be closed, and what growth opportunities exist. But Newton said there is reason for optimism.
“There certainly is a bright spot. If we get these trade situations resolved, there’s an opportunity to get out and move product. 2018 was a record year in terms of corn exports, so there are some opportunities going forward if we can get these trade situations resolved.”
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