Drought No Obstacle to Record Income for U.S. Farms - Bloomberg
Even after the worst drought in a half century shriveled crops from Ohio to Nebraska, U.S. farmers are having their most-profitable year ever because of record- high prices and insurance claims.
Farmer income probably will jump 6.9 percent to $144 billion, exceeding the government’s August estimate of $139.3 billion, said Neil Harl, an economist at Iowa State University. Parched fields that drove corn, soybean and wheat futures as much as 68 percent higher since mid-June mean insurance payouts may more than double to $28 billion, according to Doane Advisory Services Co., a farm and food-company researcher in St. Louis.
Production of corn, the biggest U.S. crop, fell 13 percent to 272.4 million metric tons, the lowest since 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. In the two months from mid- June, prices surged as much as 68 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade to a record $8.49. Crops withered in the U.S. as Midwest states went without rain for most of July and August and temperatures set heat records going back more than a century.