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View from the Cab: Price lid is on

If you were hoping for climbing crop prices in 2020, this may not be your year.

All it takes is something garnering international attention such as the coronavirus to scare the markets. Curt Kimmel from Bates Commodities feels this will keep a lid on prices moving forward. This is especially concerning due to large meat consumption.

“Some of the fast food restaurants in China are going to be closed, tourist attractions are closed and travel-wise, jet fuel consumption is going to be down,” Kimmel told me during last week’s Midwest Ag Expo near Gifford.

It will likely take health authorities some time to get a handle on this virus and the biggest downside risk currently is the meat sector.

“We’ve got ample numbers of hogs, cattle and poultry,” Kimmel said.

Illinois Pork Producers past president Mike Haag from Emington echoed Kimmel’s concerns at Midwest Ag Expo. He is hopeful demand picks up with the China agreement but admits we have plenty of supply.

“We’ve worked with several other countries throughout the world and seem to be having a lot more exports,” noted Haag.

Despite the negative news of the new virus, there was something positive to report last week as President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. This is considered a benefit to the agriculture industry.

“That’s great news for us,” said Haag.

Haag and others with the Illinois Pork Producers Association have spent time supporting USMCA and trying to help push it through to passage. The process has been underway for over a year now. Haag also considers USMCA good for manufacturing.

I had a nice time at last week’s Midwest Ag Expo, which I often refer to as the “Gordyville farm show.” The crowds were impressive both days as many farmers are ready for a fresh start in 2020. Many of the vendors told me they were pleased with business.

(The View from the Cab is sponsored by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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