General Reports

CoBank Knowledge Exchange research reports focusing general topics relevant to rural America.

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All Reports

The Importance of Off-Farm Income to the Agricultural Economy
September 2022

CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division recently partnered with the University of Missouri to study the economic fabric that supports rural and agricultural communities. 

Food Manufacturers’ Surprise Profitability Set to Continue, High Prices Will Test Consumers
February 2022

For the first time in perhaps decades, food inflation is garnering headlines and sending government policymakers scrambling for quick solutions.

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the U.S. Rural Economy in 2022
December 2021

As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is still in control of the economy.

Dollar Divergence: US Dollar Index Does Not Reflect True Dollar Impact on US Ag Exports
February 2021

The U.S. Dollar Index saw rapid deflation in 2020 and has coincided with a rally in commodity prices. 

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2021
December 2020

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.

COVID-19 Impact: Virus Blame Muddies China Trade
May 2020

CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division has just released its latest COVID-19 economic perspective by Dan Kowalski, vice president.

COVID-19 Impact: Economic Forecasts Getting Grimmer
April 2020

Economic forecasts are getting grimmer as the COVID-19 pandemic grows.

Agriculture Feels COVID-19’s Price Impacts
April 2020

COVID-19’s price impacts on agriculture are as serious as feared – ethanol, dairy, cotton, and the animal protein sectors are feeling the worst of the price pressures. Specialty crops are facing major revenue losses as they are mostly perishable and highly dependent on sales to food service and labor for harvest.

What to Expect from COVID-19 and the Rural Economy
March 2020

The U.S. economy’s plunge from COVID-19 is unprecedented. Agriculture will be somewhat shielded — but not immune — from the extreme volatility, as transportation and labor are areas of concern.

Broken Levees, Saturated Soil Heighten Midwest Flooding Risk
March 2020

We’ve been taking stock of the Midwest’s recovery from the floods of 2019, which cost the region dearly. Delayed planting and harvest, loss of livestock, infrastructure damage, and other challenges have taken their toll.

What the Phase One Deal Means for US Agriculture
January 2020

What does the US-China Phase One deal mean for US agriculture? What's in it? What will the impacts be? How achievable are the provisions? CoBank's Dan Kowalski addresses these questions and more. 

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2020
December 2019

The U.S. rural economy will continue to face headwinds in 2020 and is expected to underperform relative to the economy of urban America. 

Rural Industries and Climate Change
November 2019

The impact of climate change and environmental regulation on the U.S. rural economy and how it affects the industries CoBank finances.

Foreign Tariffs Are Falling on the US Farmer Not Importer
August 2019

Who pays the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports is shaped by a number of factors that affect bargaining power between exporters and importers, depending on the agricultural good being traded.

The Currency Shift that Really Matters to Agriculture
August 2019

Currencies have been all the buzz of late. China’s decision to reduce support for the yuan in early August sent markets into a tailspin and triggered some central banks in Asia and Oceania to cut interest rates. Markets and policy makers feared that a currency war was suddenly afoot, and China’s devaluation could stoke a destabilizing race to the bottom in global currencies and interest rates.

Co-op Consolidation
July 2019

Agricultural cooperatives have been in a steady state of consolidation for decades. But despite the decline in the number of cooperatives, the influence of co‑ops in rural America is not shrinking.

Blockchain in Agricultural Commodity Trading: Dream or Reality?
June 2019

Blockchain innovations in agriculture are numerous but have been slow to gain industry-wide acceptance, particularly in global agriculture commodity trading.

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2019
January 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. 

Recessions and U.S. Agriculture
December 2018

How would a domestic recession in the United States impact American agriculture? It’s a question that has been pondered on and off over the years by academics, economists and policymakers alike – but which remains quite difficult to answer with any kind of precision.

From NAFTA to USMCA
October 2018

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is set to replace NAFTA in 2019. Incremental changes will be modest for U.S. agriculture. But what’s included in the deal, as well as what is not, will have significant implications for all agribusiness sectors.

Help Wanted: Wage Inflation and Worker Scarcity
August 2018

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.

Trade in the Balance
July 2018

One of the most important economic trends in the global economy has been the explosive growth of international trade and the wealth generated by that trade for advanced and emerging economies alike

Rising Interest Rates Will Add to Inflationary Stress in Agriculture
May 2018

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.

Blockchain: Change is Coming to Agricultural Supply Chains
May 2018

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.

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2018
January 2018

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.

Headwinds in Agriculture
April 2017

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.