CHICAGO, April 8 (Reuters) – U.S. crop insurers appear set
to reap a bonanza this year with premium income expected to
jump about 45 percent to a record $11 billion amid soaring
prices for the main row crops like corn, soybeans and cotton.
But with record premiums and high commodity prices, comes
big risk if bad weather harms the nation’s crops and farmers
cash in on the policies.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Severe drought conditions across eastern Colorado and the western half of Kansas and Oklahoma are worsening the outlook for more wild fires in the region, climatologists said.
“When you have the kind of dry pattern we had over the winter, that’s when we really get concerned,” said Mary Knapp, state climatologist for Kansas. “Unfortunately, the outlook is for drought to persist in the west and expand eastward.”
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Almost half the United States — the North Central region, the Midwest and the Northeast — faces a high risk of spring flooding over the next two weeks, government forecasters said on Thursday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its spring forecast that the stage was set for potential widespread, record flooding, particularly in the North Central United States for the third year in a row.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill, further expanding beyond its traditional commodities-based businesses, says its latest product will make a splash in beverages.
“It’s a capability that allows us to take sugar or other materials out of products and replace the sugar with other materials that maintain the flavor, the sweetness and the body,” Kerr Dow, Cargill’s vice president of global food technology, told the Reuters Food Summit on Wednesday.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Higher food prices are here to stay.
A rising tide of global forces is supporting the surge in prices for important food staples like meat, dairy and grains, commodity experts said at the Reuters Global Food and Agriculture Summit on Tuesday.
“This is a pretty sustainable increase … A number of factors have been building over time in terms of the commodity increase: world economic growth, rising crude oil prices, increased Chinese import demand all have conspired,” said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a commodity analytical firm based in Omaha, Nebraska.
CHICAGO, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Farmland values in the U.S.
Midwest, heart of the world’s most productive grain belt, rose
12 percent in 2010, the second largest annual gain in 30 years,
the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said on Thursday.
“After adjusting for inflation, the 2010 annual increase
became the second largest since 1976 all by itself. Iowa
farmland values led the surge, closely followed by those of
Illinois and Indiana,” the Fed said in its quarterly survey of
212 banks in the region.
PALM BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Traders in physical commodity markets from grains to oil to sugar and gas are worried that a U.S. government push to regulate opaque over-the-counter trading will disrupt their business.
At issue is scrutiny by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on trading by cash merchants of contracts for things like grain barges or oil tank cars, as “paper” commodities.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Biodiesel, still a money-losing proposition in the United States compared to oil-based diesel, is about to have its best year ever thanks to government tax credits and usage mandates.
But it will take months for the biodiesel industry to bounce back after being stranded last year, when the government let its six-year subsidy expire. Biodiesel production fell 20 percent in 2010 and was only half of 2008 output as plants across the country closed or slashed production.
CHICAGO, Dec 16 (Reuters) – U.S. AgBank and CoBank, major
lenders to U.S. agriculture and part of the
government-sponsored Farm Credit System, said on Thursday they
plan to merge in 2011 to boost diversification and efficiency.
CoBank, with $60 billion in assets, is based in Denver,
Colorado, while U.S. AgBank, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas,
has $25 billion in assets. Both banks are members of the Farm
Credit System, a cooperative created by Congress in 1916 to
provide credit to U.S. farmers and rural areas.
CHICAGO, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Farmland values in the U.S.
Midwest, one of the world’s top grain growing regions, jumped
10 percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago due to
rising agricultural prices and the low cost of money, the
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said on Thursday.
“Just two years after a string of double-digit increases,
District farmland values increased 10 percent in the third
quarter of 2010 relative to the same period last year,” the
Chicago Fed said in its quarterly survey of 227 agricultural
bankers in the five-state area.