News / USA

Outlook Positive for Farmers as Commodity Prices Remain High

Outlook Positive for Farmers as Commodity Prices Remain High
Outlook Positive for Farmers as Commodity Prices Remain High

Multimedia

Farmers across the United States are heading to the fields to plant crops at a time when commodity prices are rising as global demand surges.  Many farmers are hopeful this year's crop could be one of the best on record.

Farmer Monty Whipple is several weeks behind schedule.  Rain and cold temperatures delayed plans to start planting in the middle of April.  But Whipple is making progress, thanks to a heat wave in the Midwest state of Illinois.

"If we get all this corn planted here in the next week or so, I'm not too concerned about it," Whipple explained.

Whipple is planting corn at a time when demand for his product is strong.  While demand is up, so is the cost of doing business.

"All commodity prices are high," he added.  "Cotton is exceptionally high.  Commodities such as oil obviously, exceptionally high, all the talk about high fuel costs and gasoline costs and so on."

Farming is a family tradition for Whipple.  He tends to fields once harvested by his father and uncle.  The farmer says when they lived off the land the demand for their goods was primarily domestic.  But in a global economy, the business of farming has changed.

"It's no longer a U.S. economy, or U.S. demand," Whipple noted.  "It's a worldwide demand, and as we've seen over and over again, partially because of our own doing by buying Chinese products, by buying products made in Vietnam and India - foreign countries - Korea, we're making their middle class, so called, more affluent."

That new, affluent middle class Whipple refers to is fueling the demand for his crop.

"For the last three years, world consumption has outpaced world production," noted Matthew Pierce who watches commodity prices for GrainAnalyst.com.  "We now need to take a look at the changing diet of the world, specifically China and India once again, and look at how are we going to gain more acres either in the United States, Brazil or Argentina.  Those are the only three countries that can truly produce and produce at a consistent rate where the world can count on it."

Pierce says until that acreage is identified, demand for corn, wheat, and soybeans from U.S. farmers should remain high.  And that translates into more money when it comes time to sell the commodities, particularly this year.

"Farmers domestically in the United States should see one of the banner years they've had in their entire career," added Pierce.  "We have strong basis, we have incredible demand, and we have acreage right now that offers nothing but upside incentive for the farmers."

As Monty Whipple looks to the future, when his crops head to market, he is mindful of the past.  He says he isn't taking the high prices for granted.

"The first thing that goes through your mind when you are out planting is, you know, am I doing the best job I can to get the most out of this crop," said Whipple.  "I mean every year is different.  Just because you had a great year last year, there are so many unknowns every year in farming."

What is known is that corn, soybean, and wheat prices are high.  But the great unknown every farmer faces - and in some cases can dread - is the weather, and whether or not there is an abundant crop to harvest in the fall.


Kane Farabaugh

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs