Farmers to Families Food Box Program running out of money

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 8:07 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - One of the most successful feeding programs set up during the Coronavirus pandemic is in trouble. The Farmers to Families Food Box program is supposed to run through the end of this year, but that may be tough because the program is already out of money in many parts of the country. The program began last May with a budget for the year of 4 and a half billion dollars. But that’s gone so it will take an act of Congress or more funding from the incoming Biden Administration to keep the program afloat.

Today, December 11th, is an important day for farmers. It’s the last day dairy farmers can enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2021. And it’s also the last day to sign up for financial help from the second Coronavirus Food Assistance program. USDA officials have also said today is the final day of payments under the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program since it will be defunded at the end of business today.

Deere and Company is optimistic that 2021 will be a much better year for agriculture than 2020. The company says better demand and higher crop prices will lead to more demand for farm equipment next year and that should help their bottom line. Company officials expect their net income to be in the $4 billion range next year—up over a billion from 2020 revenues.

The USDA issued new crop projections numbers yesterday and they aren’t much different than the November numbers. 2020 corn production is pegged at 14 and a half billion bushels on yields of 175.8 bushels an acre. The report also expects our corn exports this marketing year will 2.65 billion bushels, thanks to a big jump in expected corn sales to China. If we do sell that much corn overseas, it would be the most ever. Combined with total domestic corn usage, ending stocks would be 1.7 billion bushels. USDA economists project the average corn price for the year will be $4 a bushel. Soybean production numbers didn’t change at all from November as the crop is coming in at 4.17 billion bushels on yields of 50.7 bushels an acre. All demand side numbers were also the same as last month except for an expected increase of 15 million bushels for the domestic crushing industry. That would lower ending stocks to 175 million bushels, the lowest in 6 years. The expected average soybean price for this marketing year is going to be $10.55.

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