The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reports farm incomes have stabilized, but remain lower than average.
The outlook for the Fed’s Tenth District, which includes Nebraska, shows a five-year farm income projection that increases slightly, but levels for 2017 were still expected to be 18 percent lower than the long-run average.
“There is definitely a lot of variation across regions, within regions, across farms,” Cortney Cowley, economist in the Omaha Branch, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Low commodity prices and global competition are impacting farmers, but Cowley says ranchers are doing better.
“As incomes improve, whether it’s domestically or abroad, people start demanding more meat,” she explains. “They’re able to pay for things like beef, pork, and chicken.”
Cowley says growing supplies could lower farm incomes, pointing out that soybean inventories have doubled since 2015.
The Federal Reserve Bank’s survey of bankers shows fewer think farm incomes will decline in the short-term compared to a year ago.
However, Cowley says about 45-percent of bankers still remain pessimistic.
“Higher inventory and larger production over time has weighted on prices,” she says. “Because our region is so much more dependent on those commidities, I think bankers in our region might be slightly more pessimistic than bankers in some other regions.”
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:43]