General Reports

CoBank Knowledge Exchange research reports focusing general topics relevant to rural America.

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All Reports

Dollar Divergence: US Dollar Index Does Not Reflect True Dollar Impact on US Ag Exports

The U.S. Dollar Index saw rapid deflation in 2020 and has coincided with a rally in commodity prices. 

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2021

The speed of the economic recovery will largely hinge on the availability, dissemination and reach of COVID-19 vaccines, pushing the expected burst of pent-up consumer demand into the latter half of 2021, according to a comprehensive year-ahead outlook report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division.

Broken Levees, Saturated Soil Heighten Midwest Flooding Risk

We’ve been taking stock of the Midwest’s recovery from the floods of 2019, which cost the region dearly. Delayed planting and harvest, loss of livestock, infrastructure damage, and other challenges have taken their toll.

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2020

The U.S. rural economy will continue to face headwinds in 2020 and is expected to underperform relative to the economy of urban America. 

Rural Industries and Climate Change

The impact of climate change and environmental regulation on the U.S. rural economy and how it affects the industries CoBank finances.

Foreign Tariffs Are Falling on the US Farmer Not Importer

Who pays the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports is shaped by a number of factors that affect bargaining power between exporters and importers, depending on the agricultural good being traded.

The Currency Shift that Really Matters to Agriculture

Currencies have been all the buzz of late. China’s decision to reduce support for the yuan in early August sent markets into a tailspin and triggered some central banks in Asia and Oceania to cut interest rates. Markets and policy makers feared that a currency war was suddenly afoot, and China’s devaluation could stoke a destabilizing race to the bottom in global currencies and interest rates.

Co-op Consolidation

Agricultural cooperatives have been in a steady state of consolidation for decades. But despite the decline in the number of cooperatives, the influence of co‑ops in rural America is not shrinking.

Blockchain in Agricultural Commodity Trading: Dream or Reality?

Blockchain innovations in agriculture are numerous but have been slow to gain industry-wide acceptance, particularly in global agriculture commodity trading.

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2019

The U.S. economy is still performing well by most key measures. However, consumers, investors, companies and other market participants have become more wary about the near-term future with seemingly good reason. 

Recessions and U.S. Agriculture

How would a domestic recession in the United States impact American agriculture? It’s a question that has been pondered on and off over the years by academics, economists and policymakers alike – but which remains quite difficult to answer with any kind of precision.


The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is set to replace NAFTA in 2019. Incremental changes will be modest for U.S. agriculture. But what’s included in the deal, as well as what is not, will have significant implications for all agribusiness sectors.

Help Wanted: Wage Inflation and Worker Scarcity

Part of the rural labor shortage story is best told through statistics and trends. But to gain a more full picture of how labor challenges are affecting businesses, it is best to hear directly from those meeting the challenges head on.

Trade in the Balance

One of the most important economic trends in the global economy has been the explosive growth of international trade and the wealth generated by that trade for advanced and emerging economies alike

Rising Interest Rates Will Add to Inflationary Stress in Agriculture

Rising interest rates are adding to the cost burden of the agricultural economy, which is already struggling with other rising costs including labor, transportation, fuel, and raw materials for infrastructure.

Blockchain: Change is Coming to Agricultural Supply Chains

For the agricultural supply chain, blockchain technology promises increased efficiencies through enhanced data management, lower transaction costs, optimized logistics, more robust traceability, and enhanced food safety protocols.

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2018

U.S. cotton acreage will be up in 2018, but nowhere is that increase more transformative than in the Southwest. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are projected to increase planted area by 40 percent, 16 percent, and 6 percent, respectively.

Headwinds in Agriculture

After benefiting from multiple years of record high prices for agricultural commodities, U.S. farmers and ranchers are now struggling to adapt to the new economic reality of persistently low crop and livestock prices and stubbornly high production costs.

OPEC Cohesion Severely Strained

Since the beginning of 2016, the news media have been abuzz with speculation that OPEC and Russia are getting ready to freeze or curtail production in order to raise crude oil prices and alleviate their current financial strains. However many of OPEC’s members might like to engineer a production cutback, they face numerous political and economic obstacles to reaching such an agreement.