ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The USDA will release its January Crop Production, Quarterly Stocks and World Agricultural Supply and Demand report this morning. Pre report estimates have 2017 U.S. corn production at just over 14 and a half billion bushels-down 21 million bushels from the last report and well below the 2016 harvest of 15.1 billion bushels. That would also put U.S. ending corn stocks at 2.4 billion bushels-up a little over 100 million bushels from a year ago and produce an average corn price of just $2.70 a bushel. For soybeans, total production for the 2017 crop is expected to be just over 4.4 billion bushels-up over 100 million bushels from a year ago. Based on the pattern of domestic usage and export sales, U.S. ending stocks would be just under 480 million bushels-up almost 180 million from a year ago. But the part of the report that might get the most attention is for wheat. Winter wheat plantings this year were at an all time low at 31.4 million acres. On top of that, the recent subzero temperatures across the Great Plains wheat area froze out thousands of acres. Final damage reports on lost acres aren't in yet so the trade isn't sure how to deal with the wheat numbers since the crop won't be harvested until early this summer. That report comes out at 11 o'clock this morning.
Another powerful voice is weighing in and putting pressure on President Trump not to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in its annual State of American Business Report, is praising the administration for its work on regulatory relief and tax reform-two things they say that have strengthened our economy. But that report also says a wrong move on NAFTA would send the economy back 5 steps because it would severely weaken the progress that's been made, not strengthen or sustain the growth.
Latest reports indicate an overhaul of the agricultural guest worker program is a big part of the House's plan to fix the immigration program for the Dreamers affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. According to reports from DTN's Washington Bureau, some members of the House want to include the plan originally pushed by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte last fall. That proposal would end the current H-2A program for guest workers and replace it with the H-2C program. That would let farmers and other employers bring in 410,000 foreign workers to help on farms as well as 40,000 additional workers to work in packing plants. The bill would allow those workers to stay in the U.S. for 3 years before they had to go home. The proposal would also give oversight of the program to the USDA rather than the Department of Labor as it is now.
In a little less than 2 weeks, farmers and agribusiness people will get a chance to talk with their state legislators in Madison. Ag Day at the Capitol will be January 24th beginning with a morning program and lunch at the Monona Terrace. Following presentations to bring farmers up to date on issues before the legislature, the group will head up the hill to the state capitol to talk face to face with their local legislators. Governor Scott Walker will talk to the group over the noon hour. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau is taking care of registration.