CHICAGO, Nov 25 (Reuters) – After more than six years of
unprecedented boom in the U.S. farm economy driven by a
government-backed drive for biofuels, record low interest rates
and rising food exports, American grain farmers and their
bankers are bracing for change.
U.S. farmers have just finished harvesting their largest
corn crop in history – taking the steam out of a long bull
market. Earlier this month the Obama administration also
signaled that renewable fuels were losing political favor as the
Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the amount of
corn-based ethanol oil refiners must blend into U.S. fuel
CHICAGO, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Falling crop prices from a
bumper 2013 harvest dampened buyer interest in U.S. Plains and
Midwest farmland in the third quarter, slowing price gains after
years of record advances, regional Federal Reserve data showed
The Kansas City Federal Reserve, surveying 219 farm bankers
in its leading region for wheat, corn and cattle, said farmland
price gains in the quarter were only 1-3 percent higher on
average from the second quarter, compared to the usual
double-digit annual growth seen in previous years.
CHICAGO, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Farmland prices in the heart of
the U.S. Corn Belt softened in the third quarter from the prior
three months and overall values in the top corn-producing state
of Iowa eased, tracking grain prices lower, according to a
quarterly survey of agricultural bankers issued on Thursday by
the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
For the district overall – which stretches across Iowa,
northern Illinois and Indiana as well as Wisconsin and Michigan
- farmland prices were up 1 percent in the July-September
quarter from the previous quarter and up 14 percent
year-on-year, the Chicago Fed said.
CARLINVILLE, Illinois, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Buyers of U.S.
farmland appear undaunted by falling grain prices, paying top
dollar for prime parcels coming up at autumn auctions although
showing a more cautious tone than in recent years, farmland
auction participants said at a sale last week.
“It’s more dependent on where a farm is located than the
general land market. The person the farm is near matters more
than the type of farm,” said Bruce Huber, an Illinois real
estate broker who handled a sale in central Illinois last week.
“Last year, it was just up, up, up.”
MINNEAPOLIS, Nov 11 (Reuters) – The chances of the U.S.
Congress passing a five-year farm bill by year’s end are a
little better than 50/50 given the gridlock over food stamps for
the poor, a top farm policy expert said on Monday.
“There is a slightly better chance than 50/50 that we will
get a bill rolled into a budget at the end of the year. But it’s
no better than that,” Barry Flinchbaugh, a Kansas State
University agricultural economist who advises legislators
shaping the U.S. farm bill, told Reuters on the sidelines of a
farm bankers meeting in Minneapolis.
CHICAGO, Nov 4 (Reuters) – U.S. ethanol plants that have
been shut for as many as five years are now coming back online
as a record U.S. harvest has pushed down corn prices and
improved profit margins for makers of the biofuel.
Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc on Monday said it
restarted a plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that the company
purchased in 2011 from corn processor Tate & Lyle.
CHICAGO, Nov 4 (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill
Inc said on Monday it expanded its corn-based ethanol
business by opening a plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa, with the
capacity to grind 150,000 bushels of corn daily.
Cargill, one of the top 10 U.S. ethanol producers according
to the Renewable Fuels Association, purchased the plant from
corn processor Tate & Lyle in 2011 and has spent the past two
years retrofitting and expanding the facility.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Two years ago on Halloween thousands of U.S. grain farmers got the scare of their lives when broker MF Global collapsed and more than a billion dollars of their money went missing.
MF Global customers have now, through a court-appointed trustee, recovered about 98 percent of the money, which had been in supposedly “safe” margin accounts. The balance is expected by year’s end.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – A top U.S. Agriculture Department official said key monthly U.S. crop reports will continue to be released during CME Group Inc trading hours, despite complaints from the grain industry that high-speed traders have access to the data before it becomes available on public websites.
“This business of the markets being open during the release of the reports is not going away and will stay with us for a while,” Gerald Bange, chairman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Outlook Board, told a group of agricultural economists and traders at a meeting in Chicago on Monday.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness conglomerate Cargill Inc CARG.UL said it will close its Lockney, Texas, feedlot next summer due to shrinking supplies of cattle and high feed costs.
The pending closure comes months after the company shut one of its Texas beef packing plants also because of fewer cattle.