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January 2, 2014

What Will Be the Big Ag Issues in 2014?

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

What will be the big issues for U.S. agriculture in the year ahead. American Farm Bureau chief economist Dr. Bob Young gives his thoughts in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
MillerWhen it comes to the big issues for U.S. agriculture, farmers and ranchers can’t help but hope that Congress gets more done in 2014 than 2013. American Farm Bureau chief economist Bob Young thinks one of the first orders of business will be passing the farm bill.
YoungI’m optimistic that they’re going to be able to get this done in the first few weeks of the year. If they don’t we’re going to have to have other legislative action to go back and deal with the dairy issue all over again and, you know, why do we need to do that one more time? Let’s just get the bill done and move forward.
MillerHe believes the Congress will pass the Water Resources Development Act in fairly short order and that tax issues will get a lot of attention, as will immigration reform.
YoungThat one I think is really tough to call. If it does get done it’s going to get done as a number of smaller bills on the House side. At least that’s the talk at this stage of the game that would then be matched up with this much larger bill on the Senate side. How it would come together in an election year, just really tough to figure out how that one moves forward.
MillerYoung also expects agriculture to face some economic hurdles.
YoungThe prices that we’re going to talk about this year for corn for example are a couple of dollars a bushel less than what they were last year and probably just at the point where you’re going to barely cover all your costs but not have much of a return left over at all. Very different than what you had in 2013. Livestock guys on the other hand, very different story. We’re going to talk about higher cattle prices. We’re going to talk about higher hog prices. You have to think sympathetically that the poultry prices are going to move as well. Across the board for the livestock folks, noticeably lower feed costs. And so that being the case I think the livestock guys are going to be probably in much better shape in 2014 than they were same time 2013.
MillerAnd Young says as interest rates start to creep higher, farmers and ranchers should be very careful about taking on any new debt. Johnna Miller, Washington.

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