Iowa Public Television

 

Planting numbers up, farm values fall

posted on March 31, 2000


AS THE NATION'S ECONOMY BOOMED, THE COMMODITY-DEPENDENT, CAPITAL-INTENSIVE FARM INDUSTRY BOTTOMED. NOW, FURTHER BATTERED BY THE SHARP JUMP IN FUEL PRICES, IT'S BACK TO THE FIELDS FOR U.S. FARMERS FOR ANOTHER GO.

DESPITE RECORD LOW PRICES IN 1999, FARMERS ARE PLANNING TO INCREASE BEAN AND CORN ACREAGE THIS YEAR. IF DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NUMBERS HOLD TRUE, A RECORD 75 MILLION ACRES OF SOYBEANS WILL BE PLANTED IN 2000. ANALYSTS ATTRIBUTE THE INCREASE IN SOYBEAN ACREAGE TO FEDERAL PRICE SUPPORTS WHICH OFTEN MAKE BEANS MORE PROFITABLE THAN OTHER COMMODITIES.

OTHER CROPS ARE PROJECTED TO SEE A PLANTING INCREASE IN 2000 AS WELL. COTTON PLANTING IS ANTICIPATED TO INCREASE BY FIVE PERCENT, ONE OF THE LARGEST PLANTINGS IN 38 YEARS. CORN PLANTING IS EXPECTED TO RISE THIS SEASON BY NEARLY ONE MILLION ACRES, BUT USE OF B-T VARIETIES IS ANTICIPATED TO DROP BY 24 PERCENT. LAND PLANTED TO WHEAT IS EXPECTED TO DECREASE AGAIN THIS YEAR.

COMMODITIES MARKETS WERE NOT SURPRISED BY THE U-S-D-A ESTIMATES AND OPENED HIGHER FOLLOWING THE REPORT.

WHILE LAST YEAR'S LOW CROP PRICES SEEM TO HAVE HAD LITTLE IMPACT ON PLANTING NUMBERS, THEY HAVE AFFECTED FARMLAND VALUES. THE U-S-D-A REPORTED THE AVERAGE PRICE INCREASE OF U-S FARM REAL ESTATE SLOWED TO SLIGHTLY LESS THAN THREE PERCENT LAST YEAR. DURING MOST OF THE NINETIES, FARMLAND PRICES SAW AN ANNUAL INCREASE OF FIVE PERCENT.

WHILE LAND PRICES WERE UP NATIONWIDE, THEY WERE DOWN IN THE MIDWEST. IOWA AND ILLINOIS TOOK THE BRUNT OF THE FARM RECESSION AS VALUES THERE DROPPED BY MORE THAN ONE PERCENT.

Tags: agriculture corn crops news