A new report from CoBank suggests more challenges are ahead for Rural America and agriculture. CoBank recently released its report titled The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the U.S. Rural Economy in 2020.
The trade environment for 2020 remains hazy, according to CoBank, which says beyond a possible U.S.-China phase one deal, “more progress with China will be a challenge.” Trade is one of the many challenges producers face in the coming year. A phase one agreement could be completed in January. However, without a meaningful full trade deal with China, CoBank says, “the U.S. agricultural economy will continue to struggle with trade uncertainty.”
Further uncertainty focuses on potential payments to farmers, which helped prop up farm income in 2019. Meanwhile, the report says the last few years demonstrate the resiliency of U.S. agriculture, and there is room for optimism in 2020. Rising animal protein and dairy exports will be a bright spot for producers, with African Swine Fever outbreaks abroad creating export opportunity for U.S. producers.