American agriculture made a big comeback in 2010. Net farm income was about $81.6 billion, up 31% from a year earlier — the second-largest on record.
More than 22,000 farmers in Iowa and three other states are realizing the benefits of lower interest rates, totaling more than $56 million in first-year savings, thanks to a program by one of the region’s leading ag lenders.
Variable-rate loans, or loans with a fixed rate for a relatively short period that then turns into a variable rate, have served many people well over the past decade. A period of low interest rates kept rates reasonable, even with variable rates in play. A pair of Purdue University ag economists suggest that ploy may no longer be a smart move in the future. The future could arrive in 12 to 24 months.
If your market-riding “saddle” has a seat belt, you’d better buckle up. Grain and oilseeds have potential for even more volatility and higher 2011 prices. That’s if production concerns abroad and tightening world stocks materialize. A U.S. economy that’s showing signs of rebounding from the recession, more favorable exchange rates and higher energy and oil prices are improving demand prospects. That’s raising concerns.
The story goes that an old gent walked into his own wake, smiled, and said, “The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.” True or not, it accurately describes the ups and downs of expectations on seed corn this year.