Market intelligence reports aim to reach you faster, easier

A new source of information behind the weekly crop report numbers and more from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

By Mike Orso

When the weekly USDA crop condition report came out a few weeks ago, one of the new American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) ‘Market Intel’ reports pointed out there was more to the story once unplanted acres were added to the figures, especially in Illinois.

“A lot of acres were in poor to very poor condition,” said John Newton, Ph.D., AFBF’s director of market intelligence. “At this point in the growing season … all of the crop-condition ratings really aren’t a good indicator of what final crop yields are going to be.”

AFBF’s Market Intel analysis a week ago showed the nation still had 8.5 million corn acres still to be planted or in poor to very poor condition. Of all corn states, Illinois still had the most in this category with over 1.5 million acres (see map).

Newton said the national organization launched its new Market Intel reports as a way to get information faster to Farm Bureau members in Illinois and across the nation.

“We did put out a monthly crop and livestock update, but markets change by the second,” said Newton, who earned a doctorate in agricultural economics from Ohio State.

He plans to contribute analysis of commodity markets, risk management and farm bill programs. In addition to longtime AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young, Ph.D., others that are part of the AFBF economics team include:

- Katelyn McCullock, who holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Colorado State University. McCullock specializes in economic analysis of animal health and welfare, organic standards for livestock and livestock and dairy markets

- Veronica Nigh, who holds a master’s in economics from American University. Nigh analyzes how shifts in policy related to international trade, environmental issues, transportation, labor, food safety and taxes affect the agricultural economy.

“We’re just trying to get the information out in a fashion that people like to read it,” said Newton. “So, you can read it on your smartphone, your tablet, even on Twitter.

“We’re trying to cover all of the bases.”

Last week’s AFBF Market Intel analysis of the weekly crop report showed about 1.9 million corn acres remained unplanted across the country, with 6.6 million corn acres in poor to very poor condition.

The four plan to regularly share the latest on agricultural market updates at and even faster on Twitter @FBMarketIntel.

Newton will also be participating in the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Farm Income & Innovations Conference on Wednesday, July 26. You can find out how to register for the conference by contacting your county Farm Bureau. Or find more information on the website at this link.

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