CLEVELAND — Agricultural economic conditions across the Corn Belt remain stable and generally favorable, according to the Federal Reserve survey respondents.
Results of the regular survey were published in the Beige Book on Jan. 18, summarizing reports from bank and branch directors, plus interviews and an online questionnaire completed by businesses, community organizations, economists, market experts and other sources.
The report, prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, is based on information collected on or before Jan. 9.
Here are the agriculture-related comments from districts in the Corn Belt.
“After a strong year for district agricultural income, contacts expected lower but still solid returns in 2023. A contact suggested that many farmers will spend their gains on equipment and trucks, especially as availability at dealers had improved,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago survey reported.
With rivers rising, barge shipments returned closer to normal levels, easing shipping costs some.
Furthermore, prices for inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and energy all moved down during the reporting period, and there was less concern about the availability of inputs. However, some contacts expressed worries about higher interest rates on farm loans.
“Soybean prices were higher, whereas corn prices were little changed. Egg and cattle prices continued moving up, while dairy and hog prices generally continued to move down. Most major agricultural prices ended 2022 higher than they were at the end of 2021,” the report stated.
The Chicago district includes the northern two-thirds of Illinois and Indiana, all of Iowa, the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Eighth Federal Reserve District agriculture conditions “are favorable and have remained largely unchanged since our previous report.”
The percentage of winter wheat in the district rated fair or better decreased slightly from the end of November to the end of December.
Rising commodity prices have pushed inflation-adjusted farm incomes to a near 50-year high, leading to an optimistic outlook for the upcoming year.
However, input costs are on the rise as well, raising uncertainty on the overall effect on farmers’ margins for 2023.
The St. Louis Federal Reserve District includes the southern parts of Illinois and Indiana and eastern half of Missouri, as well as parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Ninth District agricultural conditions were stable at high levels. Sector contacts reported that farm incomes and working capital remained strong heading into 2023.
The Minneapolis-based district includes all of Minnesota, the Dakotas and Montana, the northern one-third of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Agricultural economic conditions in the 10th District were generally strong through the end of 2022 alongside elevated commodity prices.
Prices of some key crops and livestock declined slightly during December, but remained at a profitable level.
Most contacts in the district reported gradual improvement in farm income and credit conditions, but others noted that drought had weakened conditions for some producers.
“Strong real estate values continued to bolster farm finances, but increased interest rates, high production costs, challenging weather conditions and the outlook for commodity prices remained key concerns,” the report stated.
The Kansas City district includes the western part of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado and the northern New Mexico.