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Economists provide insight into 2024 ag economy

Southwest economists discuss the agricultural economy through the 2024 Economic Outlook series. From cattle to commodities to the farm bill, Texas and Oklahoma specialists weigh in.

Shelley E. Huguley

January 2, 2024

2 Min Read
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Southwest economists discuss expected changes on the horizon in 2024.Shelley E. Huguley

Welcome to a new year! There’s something about Jan. 1 that flips a restart switch. Truthfully, we can restart any time of the year. The Bible says Christ’s mercies are new every morning. I’m thankful that his mercies aren’t annual but rather daily or by the second if we need it!  

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So, what’s new as we enter 2024? El Niño is expected to be strong and reverse this stinking drought we’ve been battling for years. My farmer and I are hopeful, but not betting the farm, that the forecasters’ predictions ring true.  

Producers will have the opportunity to sow another crop or possibly a different commodity. We get to implement new management or soil health practices or change something that is no longer working. I don’t know if people outside of agriculture feel “the switch” of a new year like we do, as we not only start another year but a new season. 

A new year also gives you permission to forget, release or move forward from the year prior. Drought is hard. I’m ready for rain. I know it comes with its own challenges but I’m ready to drown out the parched past.  

Farm Press begins each year with the Economic Outlook Issue. This issue is a coordinated effort between economists and specialists from Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University and their Extension services. The two state institutions rotate who will take the lead each year. This year, Texas leads.  

Related:2024 may mark end of aggressive interest rate hikes

OSU and TAMU personnel partner in their area of expertise and author an outlook. Whether it’s taxes, livestock, cotton, or the general overall economic outlook, it’s covered in this issue. Farm Press is grateful for the partnership and expertise shared in each column. 

According to their articles, these are a few of the expectations for the year ahead: Input costs are expected to settle some and fertilizer prices should continue to decline, not to pre-COVID levels, but less than they’ve been. Reduced beef supplies are expected to be supportive of higher calf and cattle prices, while corn is expected to have record yields, again.  

For cotton, the price of competing crops, relative to cotton prices, will be an important consideration to the level of planted acreage. At first glance, economists say 2024 will be harder to predict since new crop prices for other commodities, except peanuts, are not very strong.  

U.S. agricultural exports, after a seven-year expansion run from 2015 to 2022, are expected to decline due to lower expected grain and feed exports, as well as livestock, poultry and dairy products. Imports are another story.  

Related:Southwest Farm Press: 12 favorite stories of 2023

Take a look through these articles and see what economists have to say. Our hope is the information will be insightful and a tool you can use as you make production decisions this year.  

Thank you for subscribing and reading Southwest Farm Press. Cheers to the New Year! 

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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