Saturday, October 16, 2010

Farm Loan Delinquencies are at a 17-year High; Purdue's 2011 Farm Outlook; DEFRA Cuts Loom; Plus Other Agricultural Economic News

  1. This is a worrisome article about the rapidly increasing default rates of Minnesota agriculture loans, up 83% from two years ago. Nationally, farm loan delinquencies are at a 17-year high. "It's kind of a silent crisis." [minneapolis star tribune] For more on Minnesota farm woes, see this.
  2. Walmart's new plan to buy and sell local produce [NYT]
  3. Ireland's Unemployed Head Back to the Farm - The country has a 13.8 percent jobless rate, but the food sector is thriving... one of the reasons for the rebound is that the price of land fell approximately 50% last year. [Bloomberg]
  4. 2011 Indiana Agriculture Outlook includes an interesting page on farmland values in Indiana [purdue - pdf]
  5. Here is a NASA satellite image of Pakistan after the flooding. "According to a recent United Nations report, nearly 17,000 square miles of land in the province remains underwater, with more than one million people displaced in temporary camps, unable to return home."[NYT]
  6. UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Agriculture is on the brink of the biggest spending cuts for 80 years with DEFRA poised to announce how it plans to meet coalition government targets in next week's spending review... Any cuts of less than 30% will be seen as a victory for DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman, who struck a deal with the Treasury, which has ordered departments to cut budgets by between 25% and 40%. [farmer's weekly]
  7. Subsidies are needed to farmers from any drops in crop prices and efforts should be made to redevelop and repopulate rural areas, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. [Chicago Tribune]
  8. This well-written article is by Robert Jensen, a journalism professor from the University of Texas, about the "Prairie Festival" in Salina, Kansas, the same festival which I attended and wrote about. But, I lament that I am not as great a writer as he. [counter punch] For one more viewpoint following the festival, this partial article by Fred Bahnson is also worth the read. It focuses on Wes Jackson.
  9. FAO Calls for 70 Percent Increase in World Food Production [vao news]
  10. Chiquita Brands International Inc. is using a new wash on its bagged salads that it says better kills bacteria including E. coli and salmonella. [cnbc]
  11. Nearly 40,000 young chickens are dead following an early morning fire at a poultry house in Rockingham County, Virginia. [claims journal]
  12. World Coarse Grain Production Prospects Down 10 Million Tons [Cattlenetwork]
  13. Food shock: Market volatility a bigger threat than grain shortage. "The global food crisis that has been looming for years has arrived: Only it’s not the one we’ve been expecting." [globe and mail]

On the Macro Front
  1. Here is Nouriel Roubini's latest: "The risk of global currency and trade wars is rising, with most economies now engaged in competitive devaluations. All are playing a game that some must lose." [project syndicate]
  2. FT Alphaville lists 25 nation's currency interventions and reminds us of the Great Depression [FT Alphaville]
  3. Even though I'm late to this, I highly recommend it: "Volcker Spares No One in Broad Critique" [WSJ]