With combines about to get rolling in the Midwest, growers and elevators likely will find it's going to cost more to ship the grain to market on barges, railroads or trucks.
Freight costs have risen sharply in recent weeks, due in large part, to a record corn crop being harvested in the south, where storage already was at a premium. Southern elevators have tied up so many barges, in fact, that rates are higher now than they were two years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Shipping isn't the only thing that's higher this year. But that's not necessarily bad news...
USDA projects 2007 net farm income to be up more than $28 billion dollars from 2006. The forecast of $87.1 billion is nearly $30 billion above the 10-year average ... and tops the previous record of nearly $90 billion in 2004.
Due to consistently higher market prices for wheat, corn and soybeans throughout the year – the value of crop production is forecast to rise $23 1/2 billion dollars over 2006.
Slug cattle feeding
For livestock, the value of production is expected to be over $20 billion higher than last year.
And as prices go up, so often does the cost of the land used for production. According to USDA, nationally, farm real estate – which includes buildings and all land -- rose 14 percent, to a record $2,160 per acre. That's the second-highest percentage gain since 1981. Excluding buildings, timberlands and pastures – the value of the actual land used for crop production -- also rose to a record level – to $2,700 per acre.