President Donald Trump's "I LOVE YOU!" tweet to farmers is facing another challenge: budget cuts that will slash subsidies for crop insurance and small growers. Trump's 2020 budget, released Monday, calls for a 15 percent funding drop for the Department of Agriculture, citing "overly generous" subsidies. The president is seeking one of the largest-ever cuts to domestic discretionary spending in a $4.7 trillion fiscal 2020 budget proposal that also boosts defense spending and adds $8.6 billion for building a border wall.
President Donald Trump's attack on the World Trade Organization has U.S. farmers worried that his "America first" foreign policy approach will hamstring efforts to defend their interests. The U.S. is strangling the ability of the WTO, which oversees the rules for nearly $23 trillion in commerce every year, to resolve disputes among its 164 members. But when the WTO's appellate body becomes incapacitated later this year, even the U.S. cases, of which there are at least two pending meant to protect American agriculture, would be derailed.
Things are not looking good for the U.S. farm economy. On Thursday, Feb. 14, the farm belt's malaise deepened after the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted soybean exports would stay below their pre-trade war levels until the 2026-2027 season. That followed a report that sales of the oilseed in early January had the worst week ever. And things didn't end there: The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City warned that farm incomes were likely to have a weak start in 2019 and that credit was tightening at lenders.
Farmers are used to playing the long game. Bad weather comes and goes, prices rise and fall, but they are a patient lot. So it is with their support for Donald Trump.
Bruce Buchanan was so elated with Donald Trump's October vow to allow higher sales of corn-based ethanol that he carved a huge thank-you note in his Indiana cornfield. Now, though, the president's actions have him worried. The government shutdown that Trump says could last "a long time" without funding for a border wall may hurt farmers by delaying the administration's ability to steer through the approval for year-round sales of a 15 percent ethanol blend for gasoline before the summer begins. That's up from 10 percent allowed now.
China is back in the market for U.S. soybeans after taking a holiday break, just as Washington and Beijing plan more trade discussions. On Wednesday, Jan. 2, Cofco Corp., China's top food company, was asking for prices, according to four traders familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. The inquiries were for February and March delivery, three of the traders said. Futures rose 1.3 percent in Chicago Wednesday and headed for a second day of gains Thursday.
Jim Pattison roars through rural Saskatchewan in his silver pickup truck, barreling down the prairie road that runs arrow-straight to the horizon. Tossed into the back seat is a sleeping bag and crimson pillow-the unlikely berth for Canada's self-made billionaire when he can't find a motel. Observing the speed limit appears optional, using the turn signal an afterthought. Not that there's much in the way of obstacles-only shimmering fields of wheat stretching across a terrain so flat that if you lost your dog, as the saying goes, you could watch it run away for three days.
Just when US farmers thought they were catching a break with a second round of federal aid, now there's concern the impasse in Washington could hamper payments.
The Trump administration's aid package for U.S. farmers hurt by the trade war could end up saving some soybean acres next year. Prices for the oilseed tumbled this year as China shunned U.S. supplies. Meanwhile, the corn market held up relatively well, sparking speculation that as many 5 million acres could be switched from soy to the grain. But Donald Trump's green light for a second round of aid payments this week may push farmers to reconsider, according to traders and analysts.
Sugar is ending 2018 on a bitter note on signs that a price collapse could get even worse next year. Futures have slumped 16 percent this year, a second straight annual loss, as booming global production sparked a supply glut. The one thing that kept the rout from being even deeper: robust demand for ethanol in Brazil, the world's biggest sugar grower and exporter. But now that backstop looks like it's going away.