Through hard work and favorable economic conditions in recent years, crop farmers across America’s heartland have generally enjoyed a period of significant financial progress. However, in 2013, prices for key commodities such as corn and soybeans, as well as other key indicators, began to moderate. Net farm income is projected to fall over the next decade. Farm balance sheets, while strong today, are at risk of weakening. Is this the start of a “down cycle” in the crop production sector that could lead to a 1980s-type farm crisis? Not necessarily. Producers who see today’s environment as an “agriculture efficiency cycle”—and find ways to drive down cost per unit of production—can position themselves for continued success. [Read more…]
After much discussion about what type of organization we want to be and how to best serve our member-owners, we determined the core purpose of Farm Credit Illinois — the “why we do what we do” — is Helping Farm Families Succeed.
This core purpose is close to the hearts of our team members. At FCI, our employees have a passion for agriculture and most have strong ties to the farm. Helping Farm Families Succeed means a lot to us.
Our core values expand on our core purpose. These are the five ideals we commit to and expect of one another: [Read more…]
2014 has been a year of changes for the commodities markets, for land markets, and for your Farm Credit Illinois cooperative.
Dramatic changes occurred in the price structure of agricultural commodities in 2014. In response to relatively large acreage for both corn and soybeans along with excellent growing weather throughout much of the Midwest, prices of both commodities entered an extended downtrend during the growing season, falling about 30% before putting in a low early during harvest.
Another notable change in the grain complex is a return to normal basis patterns. After several years with little or no carryover in the market, futures contracts now show a more typical pattern with distant contracts at a premium compared to nearby contracts.
Substantial change and volatility were obvious in the livestock sector as well. In the hog market, the impact of the PED virus and the corresponding widespread media coverage in the first half of year of the year led to a substantial price rally by mid-summer. For most pork producers, 2014 – overall – was a year of strong profits. In the cattle market, prices began the year at record levels and moved higher from there. Available supplies of beef have been declining for the past eight years as cattle producers continue rebuilding herds. Demand for beef remains firm, even at higher retail price levels. [Read more…]
Farming is a continuous and never ending cycle. While there are many different farm commodities and much diversity in farm operations across the country, we are blessed to be here in the middle of grain country. Our farm cycles are very obvious to every one. Cycles are never the same; sometimes improving and sometimes declining. That’s why significant milestones along the way are so important. Milestones help us put things into perspective. The year 2013 was a milestone year for your association for several reasons. [Read more…]
Has planting season begun on your farm? Unless your Illinois farm includes a greenhouse, probably not! At Farm Credit Illinois, we aren’t waiting for winter to end before our planting season begins. In our vision quest of seeking significance, we recognize the long-term rewards of investing in agricultural youth. By sowing seeds of encouragement in our youth to pursue an agricultural education as a foundation for farming and agribusiness careers, we expect to reap the harvest of a strong and educated agriculture workforce. [Read more…]