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Ag Policy

  • Girl-Feeding-Calf-in-Barn

    USDA to Buy 11 Million Pounds of Cheese and Extend Dairy MPP Deadline

    The USDA announced yesterday that it will buy 11 million pounds of cheese for approximately $20 million to help dairy farmers combat a cheese glut. The 2014 Farm Bill had authorized the USDA to purchase certain dairy products when margins got low. Currently, the margins are not quite to that level, however, the USDA has certain flexibility regarding what they can do to help.


  • Milking-Parlor-Worker

    Dairy Margin Protection Program Finally Makes Payments to More Producers

    The 2014 Farm Bill created a new program for dairy producers to lock in certain margins for their operations. The margin was calculated as the difference between the National All Milk price and a feed factor based upon the price of corn, soybean meal and alfalfa hay. Producers could lock in margins between $4 per cwt (no premium would be owed) up to $8 per cwt in 50 cent increments. The vast majority of dairy producers elected the $4 per cwt coverage level for both 2014-2016. They could elect to cover between 25% and 90% of their margin.


  • Advisor-With-Seniors-Table

    Details Matter!

    As stress builds in the farm sector, care must be taken if the farmer is considering filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy was specifically put into law to help farmers reorganize their debts and continue farming.


  • Ongoing Need for Farm Financing is Pressuring Farmers

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released their second quarter Agricultural Finance Databook  and as expected, the need for operating loans for farmers over a continued period of time is weighing on farmers.  Here is my analysis regarding the charts and information provided in the databook. Chart 1 shows the percentage change in Number […]


  • Wheat Growers to get 61 Cents From 2015 PLC

    Art Barnaby of Kansas State University released his latest information on the MYA prices for the major crops for the 2015/16 marketing year.  The corn and soybeans marketing year ends August 31, however, wheat (and other cereal grains) ends May 31. For the 2015 harvested wheat crop, the final MYA price is determined for the […]


  • Key Aspects of House Tax Reform Proposal for Farmers

    The House Republicans issued a proposal last week detailing their plans for tax reform (likely to occur in 2017).  The Tax Foundation has issued several articles on how this reform may affect business and individuals and I am going to recap what I see as the key aspects of their proposals.  Farmers must be aware […]


  • FICA Wage Base Likely to be $126,000 in 2017

    The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary has projected, based on two out of three of its methods of forecasting, that the 2017 FICA wage base will increase from $118,500 in 2016 to $126,000 in 2017.  The current wage base subjects employee’s to maximum FICA tax of $7,328.40.  If the new base goes […]


  • Farm Debt is Growing

    The Kansas City Fed just released a report indicating that farm debt is accumulating at a faster pace.  Farmers with carryover debt increased from 18% of loans to 29% of loans in the first quarter of 2016.  Also, 18% of total loans made in the first quarter involved restructuring existing debt to meet short-term liquidity […]


  • Farmland Values Continue to Drop

    The Chicago Federal Reserve just released their First Quarter 2016 Ag Letter showing that farmland values continue to trend lower.  The district covers most of the I states in the corn belt and show the following year-over-year changes in farmland values: Illinois – Minus 5% Indiana – Minus 2% Iowa – Minus 5% Michigan – […]


  • Crop Insurance Payouts Lower in 2015

    Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois just posted an article in FarmDoc Daily on an analysis of crop insurance damage payments in 2015.  In 2015, the entire loss ratio for the industry was only .65 (1 is breakeven).  This ratio is much lower than the .97 ratio from 2010 to 2015 and also much […]


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