Lead Economist, Dairy and Specialty Crops
Tanner Ehmke is lead economist for dairy and specialty crops in CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division, where his focus is on providing market and industry research for the dairy and specialty crops sectors. Prior to joining CoBank in 2015, he marketed seed for his family’s seed company in western Kansas, where his family has farmed since 1885.
Mr. Ehmke previously was a commodities analyst at an agricultural market research and advisory firm in Chicago, a commodity markets reporter for Dow Jones at the Chicago Board of Trade, and an agricultural journalist covering crop production and farm business management. He continues to maintain an active role in farming today.
Mr. Ehmke holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in agricultural business, both from Kansas State University.
The long-awaited period of pent-up, exuberant demand is here. And for all the benefits to businesses and consumers, bumps are unavoidable – labor shortages, price inflation, supply chain disruptions, and uncertainty about what a new steady-state economy will look like. They loom large, even as we celebrate a return to normalcy.
Over the past decade, U.S. milk production has increased by an average annual growth rate of 1.5% while domestic demand has increased at a slightly slower pace.
Lower tree nut prices and the weaker dollar have lifted tree nut exports to record highs as demand surged around the world, especially to China and
Anticipation of a return to normal is in the air. But for the economy and rural industries, there will be no going back to pre-COVID conditions.
The U.S. Dollar Index saw rapid deflation in 2020 and has coincided with a rally in commodity prices.
2021 has quickly altered the political and market landscape. And optimism, particularly about the second half of the year, is rising. But to get there, all of us must muddle through for a few months more.
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.
The coronavirus pandemic has now impacted all four quarters of 2020, and seemingly every aspect of life and business.
Over the past four months, every rural industry has grappled with how to adjust its business to remain relevant and sustainable in the pandemic. Agricultural supply chains have been massively disrupted and lost revenue. Water and power suppliers have adapted as commercial and industrial customers went dark and demand shifted to residential customers. And the communications industry is seizing a moment when home broadband access has become vividly essential, to help expand access to everyone, everywhere.
The U.S. sugarbeet industry has experienced multiple financial stressors from production losses in some regions of the U.S. stemming from reduced sugarbeet harvested acreage, lower quality sugarbeets, and an abbreviated processing season that has hurt both growers and the cooperatives that process the sugarbeets into refined sugar.
The beginning of a new quarter finds us in unparalleled times – a pandemic ravaging the world, the U.S. economy in shutdown, millions of Americans out of work, and financial markets in turmoil.
The fourth quarter is ending with much more optimism on trade and the economy compared to how it began.
The U.S. rural economy will continue to face headwinds in 2020 and is expected to underperform relative to the economy of urban America.
Grain elevators face a struggle in the year ahead as they buy expensive basis on corn, soybeans, and wheat at levels not seen in years.
Uncertainty over trade policy, weather and African Swine Fever dominated agricultural markets last quarter.
Grain elevators and end users are navigating heightened market volatility as the size of this fall’s corn harvest remains uncertain.
Global economic growth continues to slide, as tariffs drag on global trade and manufacturing.
Blockchain innovations in agriculture are numerous but have been slow to gain industry-wide acceptance, particularly in global agriculture commodity trading.
U.S. agriculture is poised for serious challenges for the remainder of 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.
Agriculture and its farmer cooperatives will face a challenging environment in 2019. Commodity markets have steadied, but resolution of ongoing trade disputes and completion of recently concluded trade negotiations will be critical to restoring optimism for the year ahead.
Domestic orange production has been declining steadily over the last two decades, driven largely by dwindling crops in Florida.
The escalating trade war with China is the leading risk for U.S. agriculture. Retaliatory actions taken by China and other trading partners have raised concerns of long lasting effects on agricultural supply chains.
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.
The risk of an escalating trade war is the greatest threat to the U.S. and agricultural economies in the near term. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are sold to destinations that are under active negotiations or embroiled in trade disputes.
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.
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.
An impending trade war, continued large global supplies, and negotiations over a new farm bill and tax extenders continue to present challenges for U.S. agriculture and farmer cooperatives. Reduced harvests in Argentina and potential droughts in some parts of the U.S. have steadied grain and oilseed market prices but there remains a potential for significant volatility.
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.
The ethanol industry is currently in an expansion phase. Blessed with an abundant supply of cheap corn, rising domestic ethanol demand and a quickening export pace, ethanol producers marked strong profits in 2016.
Feed mills have enjoyed substantial increases in profitability in recent years as grain prices have fallen, making the cost of their main input more affordable.
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.
As a result of this year’s crop surpluses, interior basis levels for corn and wheat across the U.S. have reached multiyear lows, offering elevators the opportunity to profit on basis appreciation on company-owned grain.
Grain handlers are anticipating a flood of orders for feed wheat, which should enable them to move excess wheat inventories out of storage ahead of what is expected to be a record-large fall harvest.
Over the next three years, the theme of worldwide crop abundance outpacing global demand will dominate the marketplace, while competition among the exporting nations heats up.