Ag retailers prepared for spring despite uncertainties


Ag retailers prepared for spring despite uncertainties

An ag economist says while ag retailers are well-positioned to meet their customer’s needs, the elephant in the room is the coronavirus outbreak and how it could derail input supply chains.

Ken Zuckerberg is lead grain and farm supply economist with CoBank.  He says, “the good news is that inventory that was carried over from 2019 was very strong and looked similar to what we saw in 2018.”

Longer-term, he says the outlook is a bit more negative and they’re watching the availability of inputs and feed additives that are imported from China.  He says they’re also monitoring the price war between Saudi Arabian and Russian oil producers.  “That came about suspiciously close to the outbreak of coronavirus,” he says.  “That’s brought the price down to a very low level and it’s also shocked demand on a global basis.”

He says despite farmer financial stress, farm supply cooperatives report prepayment trends to remain in-line with 2018.

AUDIO: Ken Zuckerberg, CoBank

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