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3 Big Things Today, February 13

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Trump Budget Good News, Bad News For Growers.

1. Wheat Lower Overnight on Technical Selling After Monday’s Run

Wheat was lower overnight despite reports of continued drought in the Southern Plains, and corn was down slightly.

Much of hard red winter wheat country has seen no rain in the past 30 days – longer in some areas – and the drought in the region is worsening, according to the National Weather Service and U.S. Drought Monitor.

Prices still were lower overnight on technical selling after futures jumped yesterday.

Chicago wheat futures rose 15¢ on Monday, soybeans added almost 19¢, and corn was up a nickel. After the run up, it’s likely many investors who were long crops are selling and exiting their positions.

Wheat for March delivery fell 2¼¢ to $4.61¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures lost 3¢ to $4.74½ a bushel.

March corn declined ½¢ to $3.66½ a bushel in Chicago.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell ¼¢ to $10.01½ a bushel overnight. Soymeal futures added $1.60 to $359.40 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.03¢ to 31.88¢ a pound.

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2. Trump Budget Good News, Bad News For Farmers as Agriculture Faces 15% Funding Cut

The Trump administration released its infrastructure plan and budget proposal on Monday, and they come with good news and bad news for farmers.

Let’s start with the good.

Rural America would be given $50 billon in the form of grants to help finance projects such as expanded broadband, the lack, thereof, being a problem since high-speed internet came into existence, according to the text of the infrastructure plan.

The block grants, which would be given to states, would be more quickly available than much of the funding that would be provided for improvements for other types of public works, Chuck Abbott reported on Agriculture.com yesterday, citing White House officials.

The budget proposal said $30 million would be used to fund broadband grants, $23 million would be in broadband loans, and $24 million goes to fund distance learning and telemedicine grants.

Now the bad.

The budget plan would eliminate some farm subsidies – mostly to higher-income producers – while cutting “overly generous” insurance premium subsidies to others. About $47 billion would be shaved from farmer programs over the next decade.

“The budget includes a bold set of proposals, including those that would reduce the average premium subsidy for crop insurance from 62% to 48% and limit commodity, conservation, and crop insurance subsidies to those producers who have an adjusted gross income of $500,000 or less,” according to text of the plan.  

Overall, the agriculture department would lose 16% of its funding. Defense spending would rise 14%, veterans would get an additional 15%, and homeland security spending would rise 12%.

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3. Dry Weather in Southern Plains Persists With Potentially ‘Critical’ Fire Weather Forecast

It’s another dry day in the Southern Plains where fire risks are elevated.

“Spotty elevated fire weather conditions are possible for the northwest Texas panhandle and the far-western Oklahoma panhandle this afternoon,” the National Weather Service said in a report early Tuesday morning. “Widespread elevated and possibly critical fire weather conditions are expected Wednesday afternoon.”

No rain has fallen in the area in the past 30 days, government data show.

Farther east, some nonsevere thunderstorms are possible over southeast Missouri and southwest Illinois, the NWS said. Some lightning is possible, but the precipitation likely will help improve soil moisture in the area.

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