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American farmers get big boost from government payments

Government payments
Government payments(WLUC)
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 7:16 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Government payments are making a big difference in the economic viability of American farmers this year. University of Missouri Agricultural Economists at the school’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute say it now looks like the government will send out almost $33 billion in direct payments to farmers this year. That will account for 36% of farm income this year-the most since 2001. They say that will translate into farm income falling to just over 90 and a half billion dollars this year and if there are no government payments next year, farm income in 2021 will fall another 21% to just under 79 and a half billion dollars. But their research shows the worst year for government payments affecting farm income was back in 1983 when those payments made up 65% of farm income.

Sign-up for the second Coronavirus Food Assistance program began September 21st and already the USDA has sent out over 4 and a half billion dollars to the nation’s farmers. Most of that amount--$2.4 billion has gone to crop producers, 1.3 billion going to livestock farmers with cattle operations getting a billion of those dollars with another 452 million dollars going to dairy farmers. For individual commodities, corn growers have gotten the biggest checks so far amounting to $1.4 billion. By individual states, Iowa farmers have gotten the most so far at $449 million, followed by Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota. Wisconsin is 5th in payments with $277 million so far. Sign-up for CFAP2 ends on December 11th.

A survey of farmers across the country by Farm Futures magazine shows the recent run up in soybean prices has got their attention and they plan to plant more acres to soybeans next spring. More than 1,000 farmers took part in that survey and they said higher prices are the reason they plan to plant over 4 million more acres to soybeans than they did in 2020. That would bring soybean plantings to almost 88 million acres in 2021. But those expanded soybean acres won’t come at the expense of corn ground. The farmers said they would cut corn acres by less than 1% as they plan to put in almost 92 million corn acres in 2021.

Sukup Manufacturing is building the world’s largest free span grain bin. The bin will be 165 feet in diameter and will hold 2.2 million bushels of grain. Sukup also had the previous record for the largest bin at 156 feet across. The new bin will be finished next May and will be located at Golden Grains Energy in Mason City, Iowa and triple the plants storage capacity and intake amounts.

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