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Policy Backgrounders

CED’s Policy Backgrounders provide timely insights on prominent business and economic policy issues facing the nation.

US Spring Plantings: Food Security Update

April 04, 2024

Trusted Insights for What’s Ahead™

The US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released two major reports last week. The annual Prospective Plantings and quarterly Grain Stocks reports revealed that US farmers intend to plant fewer acres of corn and wheat acres this year compared to 2023, while soybean acreage will rise 3 percent. The reduction in wheat acreage is part of a longer term trend: another recently released report shows that US wheat area harvested dropped from 56 million acres in marketing year (MY) 2008/09 to a low of 35.5 million acres in 2022/23, largely because wheat has become a rotational crop alongside more profitable crops such as corn and soybeans. Globally, wheat production for 2023/24 is strong at a projected 786.7 million metric tons (mmt), down just 0.31 percent from last year’s record.

  • US farmers in 2024 are expecting to plant 90.0 million acres (ma) of corn, 4.61 million (5 percent) less than 2023. The 90.0-acre figure was bullish for corn futures and came as a surprise in the face of earlier predictions of 92.12 ma, up from a February projection of 91.47 ma. Corn futures on March 28, the date of the report’s release, posted the largest one-day increase since July with the May contract for corn jumping 15¼ cents, ending the day and week at $4.42 a bushel.
  • The FAO global Food Price Index (FFPI) stood at 117.3 points in February, down 0.9 points from January. The slight decrease was driven by falls in the price indices for cereals and vegetable oils, which slightly offset increases in those for sugar, meat, and dairy products.
  • Despite a persistent easing of food price inflation, domestic food prices measured in national currencies continue to rise in many low-income and lower middle-income countries.

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