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U.S. economy still sputtering as ag economy showing signs of life

U.S. economy still sputtering as ag economy showing signs of life

CoBank says the U.S. economy has shown signs of improving since late spring. However, progress has slowed, and the economy remains fragile. As another relief package is off and then on the table, for now, CoBank says the economy will remain sluggish through the end of the year.

A new Quarterly Report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says rural America is experiencing a dichotomy of improving industry fundamentals and a rise in COVID cases. “The good news, from an economic standpoint, is that many rural industries have begun to turn the corner,” says Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “This is particularly true in agriculture.

A weaker dollar has supported a price recovery in most agricultural commodities.” He says despite a large number of challenges this year, essential rural industries are finding new ways to survive, and in some cases, thrive.” For example, the U.S. ethanol sector continued to recover during the third quarter, reaching a new baseline level equivalent to 90 percent of pre-COVID demand. CoBank also says recent reductions in ending stocks and expected production have provided a relief rally for U.S. grain farmers.

Dairy farmers and the U.S. beef complex also ended the third quarter in a stronger position than when they started quarter number three.

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