The focus of national leadership is now on jump-starting the nation's economy. Unemployment rates have risen sharply and anxious consumers are still reluctant to spend.
In an attempt to buoy the bruised consumer psyche the White House and Congress are spending. The once sacred social security surplus that some wanted to put in a "lock box" has been jimmied and billions are being injected into economic trouble spots. The Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates for the ninth time this year, twice since the September 11 tragedy.
The shift in monetary and fiscal policy has been greeted warmly by Wall Street. But rural Main Street remains tentative. That caution may be due to the seasonal demands of Rural America's major industry.
The harvest of the nation's grain, oilseed, and fiber crops continues albeit slightly behind the historic pace. When the USDA made its last check 20 percent of the nation's corn had been harvested, compared to an average of 22 percent.
The soybean harvest is a bit further off the pace. As of October 1 Sixteen percent had been harvested, compared to an average of 23 percent.
In the cotton and rice growing regions of the South and Far West 21 percent of the fiber has been harvested, a bit behind the average pace. But 79 percent of the U.S. rice crop is out of the field compared to the historic pace of 79 percent.
While harvests have been a bit behind, markets continue to be pressured by the prospect of ample supplies. Some analysts do point to a modest bounce in wheat prices as foreign buyers take advantage of the grain's low prices during a period of international uncertainty.