ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Concern continues to run high within U.S. agriculture over the possibility that the U.S. will either exit NAFTA or that the NAFTA 2.0 talks will end up negatively impacting the sector. Those concerns have prompted a major push in Washington by agriculture interests to emphasize to lawmakers and the Trump administration how important NAFTA is to the sector and how Canada and Mexico represent some of the top destinations for U.S. agricultural exports. While indicating that a contingency plan would not be needed, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said he was working on such a plan by talking with the administration and Congress if that does happen and how we could protect our farmers with the farm safety net. Perdue said he still expects the NAFTA 2.0 talks will come to a successful conclusion. But he acknowledged "there'll be some nervous bumps in the meantime."
Thursday's USDA Crop Production and Supply and Demand report has raised this year's corn crop from the October estimates but soybeans were lowered from last month. The new numbers grew the corn crop to 14.58 billion bushels up from the 14.28 billion last month with average yields being raised to 175.4 bushels per acre. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record in the U.S. The report showed the farm gate corn price was at $2.80 a bushel, about the same as last month. Soybean estimates in yesterday's report were slightly lower this month to 4.42 million bushels with yields holding steady at 89.5 million, the same as last month. Soybean prices are expected to average $8.45 a bushel for the 2017-2018 marketing year.
The numbers for Wisconsin show a corn crop of 496 million bushels on average yields of 168 bushels an acre. That's up 4 bushels from last month's report but down 10 bushels from last year. An estimated 2.95 million acres will be harvested for grain. State soybean production will be lower this year by about 8.8 million bushels. After this report, the new projection is set at 98.4 million bushels on average yields of 46 bushels per acre which is down 1 bushel from last month and 9 bushels below last year. An estimated 2.14 million acres will be harvested which, if realized, will set a new record high in harvested acres, 190,000 acres above the previous record which was set last year.
Thanksgiving is coming up fast and already some are thinking about Christmas including Wisconsin's 70th Alice in Dairyland Crystal Siemers-Peterman. She announced earlier that she will be cutting down the state's first official Christmas tree of the holiday's at Twin Creeks Nursery and Ginter's Tree Farm in Friendship Wisconsin, which is located in Adams County, on November 14. Wisconsin is the nation's fifth-largest Christmas tree producer, with an annual harvest of more than 600,000 trees valued at more than $16 million.