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The 2008/2009 World Economic Crisis: What It Means for U.S. Agriculture

by Mathew Shane, William Liefert, Mitch Morehart, May Peters, John Dillard, David Torgerson, and William Edmondson

Outlook No. (WRS--09-02) 30 pp, March 2009

The world economic crisis that began in 2008 has major consequences for U.S. agriculture. The weakening of global demand because of emerging recessions and declining economic growth result in reduced export demand and lower agricultural commodity prices, compared with those in 2008. These, in turn, reduce U.S. farm income and place downward pressures on farm real estate values. So far, the overall impact on U.S. agriculture is not as severe as on the broader U.S. economy because the record-high agricultural exports, prices, and farm income in 2007 and 2008 put U.S. farmers on solid financial ground. Moreover, the debt equity ratios in agriculture tend to be more conservative than those in most other sectors of the economy. There is much uncertainty concerning the depth and extent of the crisis. The outcomes for U.S. agriculture are dependent on whether or not there is a global realignment of exchange rates to correct current macroeconomic imbalances.

Keywords: world economic crisis, U.S. agriculture, U.S. agricultural exports, agricultural commodity prices, U.S. trade-weighted exchange rate, U.S. farm income

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Last updated: Monday, May 28, 2012

For more information contact: Mathew Shane, William Liefert, Mitch Morehart, May Peters, John Dillard, David Torgerson, and William Edmondson

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