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Uncertain future for ag economy

U of I ag economist Todd Hubbs (right) talks during the Farm Assets Conference in Normal this week while Bill Mayer looks on / CIFN photo.

NORMAL – Ag experts from the University of Illinois acknowledge uncertainty when it comes to the future of the industry.

U of I’s Jonathan Coppess says the roller coaster ride continues and no one knows where we are going next. Trade wars are not easy to win and Coppess believes this type of damage to our country’s reputation is “concerning.”

“We cannot wish away that this tariff has a drastic impact on prices,” Coppess said during the recent Farm Assets Conference in Normal.

The trade dispute is a big matter Coppess feels we will be dealing with for a long time, even if there is a positive outcome in the near term.

Coppess does believe we could be on the verge of decent news regarding a farm bill, which has been a long and difficult process but not as bad as the previous farm bill. He is concerned over the dysfunction surrounding the bill.

“It sounds as if some of the resistance has faced up to the realities of getting the bill done.”

Ag economist Gary Schnitkey admits the trade dispute with China is bad news and he doesn’t see the issue coming to an end anytime soon.

“These things don’t end quickly,” Schnitkey acknowledged. “It’s hard to get out of it.”

According to Schnitkey, the tariffs have already had a negative long-term impact on crop prices and he says China is now putting more money into Brazil’s infrastructure. Under a worse-case scenario, the tariffs could stay around for another two to four years in Schnitkey’s opinion.

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