We strive to educate our communities and provide the most current information on relevant agricultural topics. Each issue is comprised of articles written by our extension faculty on topics ranging from global trade to the economics of small vegetable farms. 

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Recent Articles


2020 Tax Update

Suzy Martin  |  November 25th, 2020

Despite all the events of 2020, the tax law changes were minimal. One item of discussion is the “Recovery Rebate”, which was the stimulus payment of $1200 ($2400 for couples) that was received in the first half of the year. Read more >>

  


Estimates of What it is Going to Cost Me to Destroy my "HOT" Hemp Crop

Jonathan Shepherd and Tyler Mark  |  November 25th, 2020

We recognize that no one plants a crop with expectations of having to destroy the crop. However, the risk of producing a hemp crop that is non-compliant is a real risk and has a genuine cost associated. This article begins to outline the time and cost estimates associated with the various methodologies of crop destruction. Read more >>


Communication in Stressful Times

Steve Isaacs  |  November 25th, 2020

How we communicate with family, friends, employees, customers, and employers is different in stressful situations. Dr. Vincent Covello of the Center for Risk Communication says that all the communication rules change under stress. The things we say, how we say them, and how they are heard are very different in low-stress situations than they are in high-stress circumstances. Read more >>


The Economic Value of Applying Broiler Litter in the Fall

Jordan Shockley  |  November 25th, 2020

Spring application of broiler litter is ideal for maximizing the economic value, but faces challenges that include wet soil conditions, lack of time to spread litter near planting, and availability of litter in the spring. Therefore, it is a common practice in Kentucky to apply broiler litter in the fall.  While not optimal from an economic, agronomic, or environmental perspective, producers still need to understand the economic value of applying broiler litter in the fall. Read more >>


Class I Pricing Continues to be a Major Challenge For Kentucky Dairy Producers

Kenny Burdine  |  October 29th, 2020

A modification to the way that the base class I skim milk price was calculated has left many producers seeing much lower prices than they would have seen under the previous farm bill. The formula in the 2019 farm bill was purposely designed to yield a class I price that was almost the same as the old formula, on average. But like so many things, 2020 has been a very different story as COVID impacted markets. Read more >> 


U.S. Agriculture Flirting with an Annual Trade Deficit – First Time in 60 years?

Will Snell  |  October 29th, 2020

We constantly hear about the relatively large trade deficit that the U.S. economy as a whole faces given our appetite for cheaper products from overseas suppliers, but the counter in agriculture has always been, “well agriculture is much different as our sector enjoys a healthy trade surplus.” This might not be the case in 2020. Read more >>


Understanding Commodity Wages

Kayla Brashears

Kayla Brashears  |  October 29th, 2020

When it comes to paying employees, agriculture producers have a unique flexibility in compensation options that is not available to all employers. Commodity wages are a way to compensate employees without the obligation of many payroll taxes. This can be extremely useful in a situation in which a family member is working for the farming operation; an employee is transitioning into an owner/manager role, or other creative possibilities. Read more >>


Hired Farm Labor and the Role of Hispanic Workers

Steve Isaacs  |  October 29th, 2020

Family members provide about two-thirds of the workers on U.S. farms, but the remaining one-third consists of 1.18 million hired workers. While not an insignificant number, the 1.18 million farmworkers represent less than one percent of the total U.S. wage and salary workers. Read more >>


Fall 2020 Wheat Planting Decision

Greg Halich  |  September 28th, 2020

Beautiful early-fall conditions are resulting in another early corn harvest this year, and Kentucky grain farmers will soon decide if and how much wheat they will plant this fall.  Compared to last year, there is a significant increase in wheat prices and a slight increase in soybean prices.  These changes will make planting wheat more attractive relative to last year. Read more >>


Economics of Various Winter Wheat Management Strategies

Jordan Shockley  |  September 28th, 2020

Planting season is right around the corner for those in Kentucky growing winter wheat this year.  Are you thinking about adjusting management practices by increasing seeding rates or adding phosphorus in anticipation of increased yields? Have you ever wondered how planting and harvest timings affect winter wheat yields? Read more >>


Specialty Crop COVID-19 Response Project

Emily Spencer

Emily Spencer  |  September 28th, 2020

During this moment of simultaneous disruption and rapid innovation, our project supports LRFS communities of practice by documenting and disseminating innovations and best practices developed on the ground and drawing on LRFS thought leaders to frame research on COVID-19 relate shifts to LRFS markets with the aim of supporting long term resilience.  Read more >>


Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (2.0)

Will Snell and Kenny Burdine  |  September 23rd, 2020

USDA has announced a second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments for farmers impacted by COVID-19. CFAP 2.0 will total up to nearly $14 billion nationally, which will be in addition to the funds received from the first round of CFAP payments. Read more >>


Payroll Requirements for Farm Employers

Michael Forsythe

Michael Forsythe  |  September 22nd, 2020

Farming operations come in all different shapes and sizes.  This means their need for employees is also different. When a farmer decides to hire an employee, there are several steps they need to take to make sure all of the payroll requirements are met. 
Read more >>


Government Payments 2010-2019

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  August 25th, 2020

Agricultural government payments were created to help provide financial stability for farms and farmers. In recent years they have become a substantial support to ailing farm income. The first Farm Bill was created to support farm income while ensuring an adequate food supply. Following bills have been enacted about every five years. Read more >>


Managing Risk with Insurance

Lauren Omer Turley  |  August 25th, 2020

With all of the uncertainties we face in agriculture today, it is important to manage risk. We can’t control the markets, the weather, or the dangers of working in agriculture, but there are tools that can help manage those risks. Insurance can be used to protect the operation, supplement farm transition and estate issues, and aid in financial planning. Read more >>


The Chicken or the Egg? The Untold Story during a Pandemic

Jordan Shockley  |  August 25th, 2020

Most people are familiar with the age-old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  During a nationwide pandemic, which left the grocery shelf first, the chicken or the egg? The food industry's just-in-time supply chain model strained which left shelves empty at the grocery store.  However, eggs are unique when compared to all other sources of protein. Read more >>


2020 Land Values Report

Steve Isaacs  |  August 13th, 2020

The 2020 Land Values Summary was released by USDA on Thursday, August 6. This annual report indicates the average value of all land and buildings on farms in the US, and by state and region. At the national level, all three categories were unchanged from 2019 with an average real estate value of $3,160/acre. Read more >>


Mid-year Cattle Inventory: Thoughts on Heifer Retention and Feeder Cattle Outside of Feedyards

Kenny Burdine  |  August 11th, 2020

Consistent with the January report, the cowherd is shrinking, but the decreases have been small thus far.  Beef cow numbers were estimated to be down just under 1% from July of 2019.  As expected, this lined up with a smaller estimation for the 2020 calf crop, which is a crucial first step in seeing improvement in calf prices. Read more >> 


Previous Articles


Sacred Cows and Stocking Rates

Greg Halich  |  July 28th, 2020


Locally Produced Beef and Coronavirus Impacts

Greg Halich  |  June 29th, 2020


Cattle Markets Continue to Chase Stability

Kenny Burdine  |  June 29th, 2020

Forestry Update Amidst COVID and Trade Disruptions

Chad Niman, Bobby Ammerman, and Jeff Stringer  |  July 28th, 2020


COVID-19 and Food Price Inflation

Will Snell  |  June 29th, 2020


Updates to the PPP Loan Program

Tony James  |  June 29th, 2020


Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Update

Will Snell and Kenny Burdine  |  Updated May 27th, 2020


PPP Loan Forgiveness

Jennifer Rogers  |  May 27th, 2020


What Farmers Need to Know: SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPP)

Jonathan Shepherd, Lacey Williams, Tyler Mark, and Jerry Pierce  |  April 22nd, 2020

Produce Auctions Have Seen Higher Prices Amid COVID-19 Challenges

Brett Wolff and Tim Woods  |  July 28th, 2020


Kentucky Specialty Crop Impacts of COVID-19

Cindy Finneseth  |  May 27th, 2020


Archived Economic and Policy Update Newsletters

April Newsletter

  • COVID-19 Continues to Create Havoc for Ag and Food Markets
  • Southern Extension Economics Committee Offers Details on COVID-19 Related Legislation (Labor, Families First Act, CARES Act
  • What Farmers Need to Know: SBA Paycheck Protection Program
  • Increase in 2019 Net Farm Income for Most KFBM Crop Farms
  • Cattle Market Update

March Newsletter

  • Ag, Food, and Credit Markets Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis
    • Macro Issues
    • Livestock Markets
    • Grain Markets
    • Tobacco
    • Specialty Crops and Local Food Systems
    • Interest Rates and Credit Markets
    • Hemp

February Newsletter

  • USDA Cattle Inventory Report Confirms that Beef Herd Liquidation is Underway
  • Compost Bedded Pack Barn The Solution to the Winter Feeding Problem for Cow-Calf Operators?
  • Farm Income and Debt: Looking into the Future
  • 2020 Potential Revenue Protection Projected Prices and Revenue Guarantees for Corn and Soybeans

January Newsletter

  • Making the ARC vs PLC Decision for the 2019 and 2020 Crop Years
  • Cow-Calf Profitability Estimates for 2019 and 2020
  • Trade Resources for Local Global Marketers 
  • Understanding Equipment Costs on the Small Commercial Vegetable Farm
  • What is Your Tax Management Strategy?

December Newsletter

2019-2020 Kentucky Agricultural Economic Situation and Outlook

Contributors: Kenny Burdine, Todd Davis, Jerry Pierce, Will Snell, Tim Woods, (Ag Economics), Jeff Stringer and Bobby Ammerman (Forestry). December, 2019.  

November Newsletter

  • 2019 National Land Values Summary
  • The Economic Value of Applying Broiler Litter in the Fall
  • Have We Seen the Worst of this Cattle Cycle?
  • Highlights from the USDA's "Interim Final Rule" Governing Hemp

October Newsletter

  • Prospects for Winter Backgrounding in 2019/2020
  • Fifty Years of Net Cash Farm Income
  • Three Ways to Help Farmers Communicate with Bankers
  • USDA Updates Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Ending Stocks for 2019-2020

September Newsletter

  • Market Demand for Specialty Small Grains in Kentucky
  • What to do When You Have "Too Much" Money
  • Fall 2019 Wheat Planting Decision

August Newsletter

  • Mid-year Cattle Inventory Suggests Halting Expansion
  • August Reports Leave Many Questions Unanswered
  • Protecting Your Broiler Flock (And Wallet) From the Bird Flu
  • Equity, Cash Flow? What’s the Big Deal?

July Newsletter

  • Are Farmers Getting Older? Of Course!
  • Lender Relationships
  • Dairy Margin Coverage Very Attractive for 2019
  • Latest Round of MF Payments Announced

June Newsletter

  • MFP Payments for 2019
  • Farm Numbers and Concentration
  • Local Food Vitality Index – Louisville, KY
  • U.S. Ag Imports Continue to Grow
  • Historical Net Farm Income (NFI) for Crop Farms in the Kentucky Farm Business Management (KFBM) Program, 2008-2018

May Newsletter

  • May WASDE Quickly Over-Shadowed by Trade and Weather News
  • Can Your Farming Operation Be Too Diverse?
  • Early Observations on the 2019 Kentucky Tobacco Outlook
  • High Tunnel Growth in Kentucky

April Newsletter

  • The Impact of Fixed Costs on Hay Enterprise Profitability
  • Depreciation: The Largest Check You’ll Never Write
  • Kentucky Highlights from 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture
  • Census Data Confirms Continued Decline in Kentucky Tobacco Farms
  • Regional Specialty Crop Sales Growth Updated from 2017 Census

March Newsletter

  • The Economics of Hemp Production in Kentucky
  • 2019 Farm Income Forecast
  • Summer Stocker Outlook for 2019
  • Does 2019 Mark the End of Beef Herd Expansion?
  • Maximizing Value: Spring Application of Broiler Litter of Grain Crop Production

February Newsletter

  • Economists' Viewpoints Surrounding the Hemp Boom: Part I
  • Farm Bill Dairy Subtitle and Changes in Class I mover Calculation
  • Swinging for the Fences: High-Input Grain Farming
  • 2019 Revenue Protection Insurance Safety-Net for Corn and Soybeans

January Newsletter 

  • Trying to Make Sense of the Current Cull Cow Market
  • Potential 2019-2020 Corn and Soybean Balance Sheets and Price Potential
  • Nutrient Value of Feeding Hay
  • Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill)

Archived Crop Management and Marketing Newsletters

March Newsletter

  • March WASDE: USDA Punts until Acreage Report
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to Harvest 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Combining Crop Insurance and Forward Contracts to Reduce Revenue Risk: Example Game Plans for 2020 Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat

February Newsletter

  • February WASDE: USDA Makes Minor Adjustments
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to Harvest 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • 2020 Potential RP Projected Prices and Revenue Guarantees for Corn and Soybeans
  • Combining Crop Insurance and Forward Contracts to Reduce Revenue Risk: Example Game Plans for 2020 Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat

January Newsletter

  • January WASDE Incorporates Final 2019 Corn and Soybean Production Estimates
  • 2020 Projected Profitability and Break-Even Analysis: Western Kentucky Corn vs. Soybean
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • When is a Good Time to Consider Hedging Corn and Soybeans?
  • Combining Crop Insurance and Forward Contracts to Reduce Revenue Risk: Preliminary
  • Game Plans for 2020 Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat
  • July Wheat Trading Days Frequency for the 2016 to 2020 Crop Years
  • Beware of Typical Acreage and Normal Yields for 2020 Corn and Soybean Price Potential

December Newsletter

  • December WASDE Report: Markets Wait for January Reports
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Potential 2020 Corn and Soybean Acres, Demand Structure, and the Impact on Stocks and Price

November Newsletter

  • November Crop Production Report: USDA Trims Corn Crop
  • November WASDE Report: Corn Stocks Reduced Less Than Expected
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Potential 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Balance Sheets and Price Potential
  • USDA Releases Preliminary Baseline Projections
  • Baseline Projections and Implications for ARC-CO and PLC
  • Sign-up for the Second Tranche of MFP 2.0

October Newsletter

  • October Crop Production Report: USDA Increases Corn Yield but Reduces Soybean Yield
  • October WASDE Report: Could Soybeans be Developing a Less Bearish Story?
  • Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Harvest Progress
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Potential 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Balance Sheets and Price Potential
  • Upcoming Grain Outlook and Risk Management Webinars

September Newsletter

  • September Crop Production Report: USDA Trims Corn and Soybean Yields
  • September WASDE Report: Markets Wait for Harvest to Begin to Provide Market Data
  • Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Condition and Progress
  • 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2020 Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Potential 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Stocks-to-Use and Price Potential
  • 2020 RP Wheat Crop Insurance Update
  • Upcoming Grain Outlook and Risk Management Webinars

August Newsletter

  • August Crop Production Report Raises Questions about the Corn and Soybean Crops
  • August WASDE Report: Larger than Expected Crops Destroys Corn and Soybean Markets
  • Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Condition and Progress
  • 2018 Corn and Soybean Basis; and 2019 Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • 2019 Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Post-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Potential 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Stocks-to-Use and Price Potential
  • Upcoming Grain Outlook and Risk Management Webinars

July Newsletter

  • 2019 Acreage Survey Confounds Market
  • July WASDE Report Adopts Uncertain Acreage Projections
  • Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Condition and Progress
  • 2018 Corn and Soybean Basis; and 2019 Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2020
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • December Corn Trading Days Frequency for the 2014 and 2019 Crop Years-Revisited
  • Projected 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Stocks-to-Use and Price Potential

June Newsletter

  • June WASDE Report Responds to Record Late Corn Planting Progress
  • Soil Moisture and Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Wheat Condition
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Planting Update and Statistical Unplanted Acres
  • 2018 Corn and Soybean Basis; and 2019 Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to December 2019
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Performance of Pre-Harvest Corn and Soybean Hedging Strategies
  • December Corn Trading Days Frequency for the 2014 to 2019 Crop Years
  • Projected 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Balance Sheets

May Newsletter

  • May WASDE Report Provides First Projections for the 2019-2020 Marketing Year
  • Soil Moisture and Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Planting Progress and 2019 Wheat Condition
  • Statistical Unplanted Corn and Soybean Acres
  • 2018 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to December 2019
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities
  • Comparison of Pre-Harvest and Post-Harvest Wheat Hedging Strategies
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Projected Profitability Compared to Corn Prevented Planting
  • Projected 2019-20 Corn and Soybean Balance Sheets

April Newsletter

  • Prospective Plantings Report: Corn Area Increases while Soybean and Wheat Declines
  • April WASDE Report Shows Increasing Corn and Wheat Stocks
  • Soil Moisture and Short-Term Precipitation and Temperature Outlook
  • 2019 Corn and Soybean Planting Progress and 2019 Wheat Condition
  • Suitable Field Days and Statistical U.S. Corn Planting Capacity
  • 2018 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years – Implications for Storage
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to December 2019
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Risk Management Opportunities
  • Comparison of Hedging Corn and Soybeans in May for Fall Delivery
  • Projected 2019-20 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Balance Sheets

March Newsletter

  • March WASDE Update: USDA Increases Corn and Wheat Stocks
  • 2018 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years – Implications for Storage
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to December 2019
  • 2018 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities for May Delivery
  • Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Risk Management Opportunities
  • Combining Crop Insurance and Forward Contracts to Reduce Revenue Risk: Updated
  • Game Plans for 2019 Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat

February Newsletter

  • USDA Issues Final 2018 Crop Production Estimates for Corn and Soybeans
  • February WASDE Update: Shifting Focus to South America and Use
  • Potential 2019 Projected Prices for Corn and Soybeans Revenue Protection Insurance
  • 2018 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years – Implications for Storage
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to December 2019
  • 2018 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities for May Delivery
  • Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Risk Management Opportunities
  • What is USDA’s Preliminary Outlook for the 2019-20 Grain and Oilseeds Balance Sheets?

January Newsletter

  • 2019 Projected Profitability and Break-Even Analysis: Western Kentucky Corn vs. Soybeans
  • When is a Good Time to Consider Hedging and Cash Forward Contracts for Corn and Soybeans?
  • 2018 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Basis vs. Previous Years – Implications for Storage
  • Projected Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Trading Ranges to July 2019
  • 2018 Corn and Soybean Risk Management Opportunities for May Delivery
  • Projected Return to Storage for Corn and Soybeans
  • Pre-Harvest 2019 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Risk Management Opportunities
  • Potential 2019-2020 Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Balance Sheets and Price Potential
  • Combining Crop Insurance and Forward Contracts to Reduce Revenue Risk: Preliminary Game Plans for 2019 Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat