Tanner Ehmke

Lead Economist, Grains and Oilseeds

Tanner Ehmke, Lead Economist, Dairy and Specialty Crops

Tanner Ehmke is lead economist for grains and oilseeds in CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division. His focus is on providing market and industry research for the wheat, corn, soybean and rice sectors. Prior to joining CoBank in 2015, he marketed seed for his family’s seed company in western Kansas, where his family has farmed since 1885.

Mr. Ehmke previously was a commodities analyst at an agricultural market research and advisory firm in Chicago, a commodity markets reporter for Dow Jones at the Chicago Board of Trade, and an agricultural journalist covering crop production and farm business management. He continues to maintain an active role in farming today.

Mr. Ehmke holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in agricultural business from Kansas State University.

Recent Reports


All Reports

Russian Wheat Exports Remain Biggest Risk to U.S. Wheat Elevators
September 2023

Following an extended period of inverted futures markets, the outlook for elevators storing wheat has improved. Carry in the futures markets has returned and the buy basis has widened after a bigger U.S. wheat harvest.

Tour Reveals Risk to Soybean Crop, but Greater Potential for Soybean Oil
August 2023

Results of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour project smaller corn and soybean crops in the U.S. as drought and the record heat index lower yields, especially in the western Midwest.

India Rice Ban Will Benefit U.S. Rice Exports, Increase Market Volatility
August 2023

On July 20, the Indian government banned the export of non-basmati white rice to “to allay the rise in prices in the domestic market” stemming from threats posed by Black Sea geopolitics, El Nino and extreme climatic conditions in other rice-producing countries. The ban affects 7-8 million metric tons of Indian rice exports, or 15% of global rice trade.

The Slowdown-Resistant Economy
July 2023

Despite predictions for a slowdown, the U.S. economy remains the envy of the world. Jobs are plentiful, asset values are near all-time highs, and consumers are spending

Rising Cost of Carry Will Force Co-op Grain Elevators to Lower Bids, Widen Basis
May 2023

Grain merchandisers have endured rising costs of storing, or carrying, grain and oilseed inventories over the past year due to rising interest rates, high crop prices and rising operating costs like transportation, insurance, fuel, electricity and labor

Adapting to a Slowing Economy
April 2023

Effects from higher interest rates are permeating rural industries

Inflation is Beginning to Loosen its Grip
January 2023

The war in Ukraine and inflation will remain the two biggest factors for commodity
markets in the first half of 2023. 

Updating Make Allowances is Central to the Future of Federal Milk Marketing Orders
January 2023

Federal Milk Marketing Orders establish the minimum prices that regulated processors must pay for farm milk. 

The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the U.S. Rural Economy in 2023
December 2022

The Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation, and an energy crisis joined the COVID-19 pandemic this year as major events defining the operating environment for U.S. companies. We can expect to feel the aftershocks in 2023. 

Vertical Farms Must Trim Costs, Hone Business Models to Achieve Profitability
November 2022

Although the concept of growing food indoors is not new, investment in growing crops indoors in vertically stacked layers has ballooned in recent years. The labor, health, and supply chain issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic has driven even more new consumer and investor interest.

The Quarterly: Inflation Abundance, Commodity Shortage
October 2022

Despite ongoing impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and lingering supply chain
effects from the pandemic, the U.S. economy remains incredibly resilient.

CoBank Quarterly: Clouds are Forming
July 2022

Fears of higher rates and weakening economic conditions
linger over the year’s second half.

Record Butter Prices May Push Consumers to Cheaper Options and Slow Cheese Production
June 2022

Prices for retail butter are outpacing nearly all other goods — up 13% YTD according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and the worry about its impact on demand is legitimate. 

COVID-19 Spiked Demand for High-Protein Whey, but is Growth Sustainable?
February 2022

The U.S. is one of the world leaders in whey production and exports. Technological advances have created new value streams beyond commodity whey. In the last 20 years, whey has been transformed from a cheese-making waste byproduct often spread on farm fields as a low-value fertilizer to a highly valuable co-product, driven by rising global consumer demand for protein.

The Quarterly: Omicron Upends Supply Chain Recovery
January 2022

Against all hope for a better start to 2022, omicron has crashed the New Year’s party. Renewed supply chain disruptions are being felt throughout the economy, causing empty shelves again and threatening to fan the flames of inflation.

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.

The Quarterly: Adapting to Persistent Supply Disruptions
October 2021

Businesses of all sizes and across most industries are wrestling with perhaps the worst supply chain bottlenecks to date

Fragrant Rice: Opportunity or Threat for the U.S. Rice Industry?
September 2021

Since 1980, U.S. rice imports have grown from nearly zero to over 1.1 MMTs,while U.S. rice consumption has grown from 2.0 MMTs to nearly 5.0 MMTs. Nearly one-third of the gain in U.S. consumption has been satisfied by imported rice. 

The Quarterly: A Long Tail—Pandemic After-Effects are Just Beginning
July 2021

The long-awaited period of pent-up, exuberant demand is here. And for all the benefits to businesses and consumers, bumps are unavoidable – labor shortages, price inflation, supply chain disruptions, and uncertainty about what a new steady-state economy will look like. They loom large, even as we celebrate a return to normalcy.

US Dairy Processors Must Be Versatile to Compete in Southeast Asia
June 2021

Over the past decade, U.S. milk production has increased by an average annual growth rate of 1.5% while domestic demand has increased at a slightly slower pace.

California Tree Nut Outlook: Record Exports Expand Global Demand Base
April 2021

Lower tree nut prices and the weaker dollar have lifted tree nut exports to record highs as demand surged around the world, especially to China and 
the EU. 

The Quarterly: We’re Not Going Back to Pre-COVID Conditions
April 2021

Anticipation of a return to normal is in the air. But for the economy and rural industries, there will be no going back to pre-COVID conditions.

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 Quarterly: New Year Optimism Confronts the Pandemic
January 2021

2021 has quickly altered the political and market landscape. And optimism, particularly about the second half of the year, is rising. But to get there, all of us must muddle through for a few months more.

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.

The Quarterly: The Fragile Recovery is About to be Tested
October 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has now impacted all four quarters of 2020, and seemingly every aspect of life and business. 

The Quarterly: Rural Industries Adapt to Coronavirus Reality
July 2020

Over the past four months, every rural industry has grappled with how to adjust its business to remain relevant and sustainable in the pandemic. Agricultural supply chains have been massively disrupted and lost revenue. Water and power suppliers have adapted as commercial and industrial customers went dark and demand shifted to residential customers. And the communications industry is seizing a moment when home broadband access has become vividly essential, to help expand access to everyone, everywhere.

Sugar Outlook: Sweeter Times Ahead for Sugarbeet Growers and Processors
June 2020

The U.S. sugarbeet industry has experienced multiple financial stressors from production losses in some regions of the U.S. stemming from reduced sugarbeet harvested acreage, lower quality sugarbeets, and an abbreviated processing season that has hurt both growers and the cooperatives that process the sugarbeets into refined sugar.

The Quarterly: Keeping Us Connected, Our Lights On, and Our Pantries Full
April 2020

The beginning of a new quarter finds us in unparalleled times – a pandemic ravaging the world, the U.S. economy in shutdown, millions of Americans out of work, and financial markets in turmoil. 

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Trade Resolutions Boost Optimism for a New Year
December 2019

The fourth quarter is ending with much more optimism on trade and the economy compared to how it began. 

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. 

Grain Elevator Outlook: Tight Basis Squeezes Grain and Oilseed Margins
December 2019

Grain elevators face a struggle in the year ahead as they buy expensive basis on corn, soybeans, and wheat at levels not seen in years. 

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Trade Remains the Focus as Tariffs Take Toll on Agriculture
October 2019

Uncertainty over trade policy, weather and African Swine Fever dominated agricultural markets last quarter.

Corn Crop Uncertainty Raises Volatility for Grain Elevators
August 2019

Grain elevators and end users are navigating heightened market volatility as the size of this fall’s corn harvest remains uncertain.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Stalled Trade Talks, Record Rains Upend Agriculture
June 2019

Global economic growth continues to slide, as tariffs drag on global trade and manufacturing.

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.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Agriculture Still Waiting For Relief
March 2019

U.S. agriculture is poised for serious challenges for the remainder of 2019.

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. 

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Agriculture Limps into 2019
December 2018

Agriculture and its farmer cooperatives will face a challenging environment in 2019. Commodity markets have steadied, but resolution of ongoing trade disputes and completion of recently concluded trade negotiations will be critical to restoring optimism for the year ahead.

Domestic Orange Juice is Squeezed and Imports are Filling the Void
November 2018

Domestic orange production has been declining steadily over the last two decades, driven largely by dwindling crops in Florida.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Rising Output Compressing Agricultural Margins
October 2018

The escalating trade war with China is the leading risk for U.S. agriculture. Retaliatory actions taken by China and other trading partners have raised concerns of long lasting effects on agricultural supply chains. 

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.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Trade War Rhetoric Shifts to Reality
June 2018

The risk of an escalating trade war is the greatest threat to the U.S. and agricultural economies in the near term. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are sold to destinations that are under active negotiations or embroiled in trade disputes.

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.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review: Trade War Risks Loom Over Agriculture
March 2018

An impending trade war, continued large global supplies, and negotiations over a new farm bill and tax extenders continue to present challenges for U.S. agriculture and farmer cooperatives. Reduced harvests in Argentina and potential droughts in some parts of the U.S. have steadied grain and oilseed market prices but there remains a potential for significant volatility.

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.