(Podcast) Episode 023: Farm Finances in Distressed Wheat Markets

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Kate chats with Anton Bekkerman, an associate professor of economics at Montana State University, about what happened in the 2017 wheat markets in the northern Great Plains and the impacts of those events on farm finances. Anton provides insights about several key financial metrics that can be used to evaluate short and long-term financial vulnerability, and discusses what might be ahead for wheat markets in the 2017/18 marketing year.

For this podcast, we’ve also included a video that presents charts and figures associated with the discussion. You can view the video below.


1:40  What defined the 2017 northern U.S. wheat markets? Moisture underperformance! How bad was it exactly?

4:00  When wheat production is down, we should see prices rise. But that didn’t happen. Here’s a few reasons why.

8:00  How do prices this year compare to a longer-run trend?

11:15  How has the agricultural lending sector responded to this low-price market?

13:10  Given how the agricultural lending sector has responded, is it time for the production agricultural industry to freak out?

14:00  What are the perspectives of farmers about the current state of agricultural business finances?

16:00 . What are some of the measures that can assess an agricultural producers’ financial vulnerability?

18:45 . What is the current state of farmers’ financial vulnerabilities and how has that changed in the past decade?

21:50  What are some of the reasons that farms are more financially vulnerable in the short-run?

23:15 . What are strategies for overcoming some of the financial hazards faced by farmers?

27:45  What are factors in the next year that are likely to play a role in wheat markets and farmers’ ability to recover?

(Intro and outro music by Trevor Sensor)

(Photo by Maarten Takens is licensed under CC BY 4.0)

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About Author

Kate Binzen Fuller is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. Her extension and research program focuses on the economics of farm management decisions, including USDA programs and policies, pests and diseases responses, and issues surrounding leasing and land values. Kate’s extension program takes her on the road often, resulting in a rapidly expanding knowledge and appreciation for Montana’s interstates, highways, and (especially) gravel roads.

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