Farm Progress

Southwest Ag Economic Outlook SeriesSpecial feature covers major crops and livestock enterprises

Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

January 15, 2016

2 Min Read
<p>As farmers prepare for spring planting, they face a lot of decisions on crop mix, input costs and market options. It&#39;s likely to be another challenging year, according to economists.</p>

Information is power. Even if the information seems to carry little good news, Southwest farmers and ranchers are better off having it than wondering what lies ahead for the next growing season.

Where will the markets go? Will production costs continue to rise? What’s my banker thinking about this winter? Are new regulations going to affect how I run my farm?

No one can answer all those questions with complete certainty, but economists from Texas A&M and Oklahoma State University combine their expertise, knowledge and resources early each year to offer producers their best analyses of how markets, trade opportunities, financing and the overall economy will influence agricultural decisions for the coming year.

Southwest Farm Press is pleased to offer observations from some of the most knowledgeable agricultural economists in the country in this special Southwest Agricultural Economic Outlook series.

In these articles, written exclusively for Southwest Farm Press, economists look at feed grains, wheat, livestock, cotton, markets, trade opportunities, regulatory issues, farm finance and the general economy to create an overview of what is most likely to transpire in the coming year.

Topics include:

  • Ag Credit is Becoming Tighter

  • Low Commodity Prices Testing Producer Safety Net Programs

  • Cattle Market in Transition

  • Cotton Market Outlook:  More of the Same?

  • Feed grain Prices may move lower if production prospects are again better than normal; they can still move higher with a threat of a supply disruption by a major producer anywhere in the world.

  • Wheat: For wheat prices to increase $2 or more requires world wheat production to be less than 25 billion bushels.

  • Expect Little Change in Input Costs, Tough Times Continue

  • Trade: After reaching a record peak in 2014, agricultural exports dropped slightly in 2015 and seem to be stuck in neutral for 2016.  On the other hand agricultural imports are expected to reach an all-time high. 

  • US Economy 2016: A Year of Major Uncertainty for Farmers

  • WOTUS: For now, agricultural producers are left with the rules in place prior to August 28, 2015, which still leave considerable questions about what is, and is not, a “water of the United States.” 

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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