National Ag News for April 18, 2023

Farm Credit Reports on Ag Economy and Condition of Its System

The Farm Credit Administration recently received a quarterly update on economic issues affecting agriculture as well as an update on the performance of the Farm Credit System through 2022. Inflation continues to be a core economic issue despite recent declines. Inflation has been driven, in part, by a tight labor market and rising production costs and consumer demand. The report also says strong prices for many commodities have continued into 2023. Tight global grain stocks, declining cattle inventory, and disruptions to specialty crop production continued to support prices. Input costs will remain high this year and curb farm profitability. With the end of the three-year La Niña pattern, drought conditions have improved across many parts of the country. The update also says the System reported strong financial results in 2022, including strong loan growth and higher earnings. The System’s loan portfolio continued to perform well, and portfolio credit quality remained strong.  

Consider Corn Challenge Still Finding New Uses for Corn

The National Corn Growers Association is launching its fourth Consider Corn Challenge. The open-innovation contest invites participants to submit proposals for new uses of field corn as a primary feedstock for producing novel sustainable chemicals and products with quantifiable market demand. “Consumers have a genuine interest in biobased products, and corn is investing in solutions that meet that need,” says NCGA Market Development Action Team Chair Troy Schneider. “In order to continue drawing in game-changing participation, the prize pool has increased to $250,000.” If all 15 winners of the first three Consider Corn Challenges reach full commercialization with products in the marketplace, the potential for additional corn demand would be approximately 3.4 billion bushels. One to six winners will be selected for the fourth Consider Corn Challenge. The submission deadline is June 30 at 5 p.m. Central Time, and winners will be announced in October. To learn more, go to

NFU Supports Torres Small for Deputy Ag Secretary

The National Farmers Union released a letter in support of the nomination and confirmation of Xochitl (Zo-CHEEL) Torres Small to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at USDA. NFU President Rob Larew says current Under Secretary for Rural Development Torres Small has tirelessly served family farmers in New Mexico and the country. “She’s done amazing work for rural communities and supply chains that support our entire economy,” says Larew. “I’m proud to share our support knowing that Under Secretary Torres Small will make a positive impact as Deputy Secretary of the USDA.” NFU has a long history with Torres Small going back to her time as a member of Congress when she represented family farmers and ranchers in New Mexico. NFU urges the Senate Committee on Agriculture to advance Torres Small’s nomination to serve as Deputy Secretary of USDA and looks forward to working with her in the new role.

Taylor Leads USDA Trade Mission to the Netherlands

USDA’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor launched the first-ever regional agribusiness trade mission to the Netherlands in Amsterdam. The delegation includes representatives from 31 agribusiness and farm organizations and ten state departments of agriculture. The group aims to expand economic partnerships between the U.S. and the Netherlands and markets throughout Scandinavia. “As the gateway to Europe for U.S. exports, the Netherlands is an important trading partner,” Taylor says. “Company representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are joining us in Amsterdam.” She also says with combined total agricultural and related exports to these markets topping $4.5 billion in 2022, Taylor is confident the delegation will be successful in building new relationships that are critical to expanding opportunities for increased trade. USDA will help facilitate business-to-business meetings between small and medium-sized agribusinesses and regional buyers looking to import American farm and food products.

Optimism Despite Headwinds in the Ag Equipment Market

Equipment manufacturers are still recovering from pressures brought on by COVID-19, but they’re working toward a state of normalcy despite trials and tribulations. Kip Eideberg is the Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Eideberg says supply chain pressures and a lack of workforce retention have been ongoing struggles for the industry, and individual sectors are facing their own problems as well. A recent AEM survey of its members detailed the strains and pressures that have built up in the global ag sector during the last few years. “Overall, far too many equipment manufacturers still feel the impact of COVID and supply chain disruptions in operations, lead times on components, labor force participation, and financial performance,” says Eideberg. In tracking sales and global data, the ag equipment market is in a good position right now, and there’s more optimism moving forward despite economic headwinds.

Illinois Farmland Prices Up 45 Percent in Two Years

Illinois farmland prices continued their upward curve in the last several years, and it applies to all classes of farmland throughout the state. That’s according to a report issued during the 2023 Illinois Farmland Values Conference sponsored by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Last year continued to see a sharp rise in land values. While certain parts of the state saw more strength than others, Illinois land values were up across the board. Class A land across Illinois rose 45 percent from 2021-2022. While premium acreage always carries the flag, the report says lesser quality acreage saw increases of over 25 percent and, in some instances, over 40 percent during the same period. The state’s professional farmland managers and appraisers said reduced transactions in 2020, historically-low interest rates, strong demand, increased commodity prices, and overall fear in other economic sectors all play a role in rising prices.


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.