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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network.

Outlook For Corn And Soybeans Isn’t Great, But It Could Have Been Worse

Both soybeans and corn are expected to have strong harvests but lower prices this year, according to USDA's most recent global outlook.
Amy Mayer
Harvest Public Media file photo
Both soybeans and corn are expected to have strong harvests but lower prices this year, according to USDA's most recent global outlook.

At the start of 2020, the agricultural economy was poised for a good year. 

Then came COVID-19 and like almost every other sector, it tanked. But Chad Hart, an economist at Iowa State University, says that solid footing is still the foundation for an outlook that is not all doom and gloom.

Hart says theWorld Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimatesthat the U.S Department of Agriculture released this week suggest the growing season and 2020 harvest may be tough, but not devastating. Higher yields will offset lower prices. And Hart says COVID recovery should bring about some of the relief from trade tensions that economists anticipated. 

“They’re looking for that strength to still be there, to return, as we reopen the economy, as we get the global economy moving along,” he says.

Lower prices for corn and soybeans may draw some new or less common uses for the crop, especially if the harvest is as big as predicted. 

“As prices drop, suddenly you’re like, okay I didn’t used to use corn before in this, but I can… and corn is now inexpensive enough that it makes sense for me to do that,” Hart says. “So you would see other uses pop up.”

But even more likely, Hart says, is that farmers will use some of their quieter time in June and July to consider alternative crops for 2021, especially if this year brings them any more unwelcome hurdles in corn and soybeans.

Copyright 2020 Harvest Public Media

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth. She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times, Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Amy served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio from 2008-2015.