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3 Big Things Today, February 28

1. Soybeans Drop Overnight, Corn Unchanged

Despite a promising start, yesterday’s grain markets were a disappointment with corn, soybeans, and wheat closing lower. Prices will remain choppy as the market looks for news on a trade deal between the U.S. and China.

In overnight trading, the markets are mixed with corn unchanged and soybeans down. 

March corn is steady at $3.64. March soybeans are down 3¢ at $9. Wheat is mixed, down 1¢ on the CBOT and in Minneapolis and up 4¢ in Kansas City.

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2. Farm Debt Rises to 1980s Levels

Over the last five years as commodity prices have dropped, financial analysts and experts have repeatedly said that the situation is not as dire as the 1980s farm crisis. However, Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue had a different message on Monday in his testimony to the House Agriculture Committee.

"Farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30% since 2013 – up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last year – to levels seen in the 1980s," said Perdue. 

While that number is alarming, the debt-to-asset level remains low due to land values. 

"Relatively firm land values have kept farmer debt-to-asset levels low by historical standards at 13.5%, and continued low interest rates have kept the cost of borrowing relatively affordable,” said Perdue. "But those average values mask areas of greater vulnerability.”

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3. Cold Here to Stay, Snow in Northern Plains

Temperatures today will remain below average throughout the Plains and Upper Midwest, ranging from 15˚ to 30˚ below average. Another cold front will move through at the end of the week, bringing even colder temperatures on Friday and Saturday morning. For the Northern Plains, temps will drop to 20˚ to 40˚ below average.

An upper-level low near the Pacific Northwest will send energy eastward this evening, resulting in light to moderate snow for the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Upper Great Lakes. Forecasts show 1 to 4 inches of snow for these areas on Friday with this moving to the Northeast by Saturday.

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