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FAPRI outlook shows downward shifts in farm income, commodity prices


The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri celebrates its 40th year in 2024, but there wasn’t much celebratory news in FAPRI’s latest baseline projections. The report was released in March and summarized at the Abner Womack Missouri Agriculture Outlook Conference on April 3 in Columbia.
FAPRI’s report shows prices for many farm commodities have fallen sharply from 2022 peaks and will likely decline further for crops harvested in 2024 and beyond. As a result, net farm income is expected to hit the lowest level since 2020. 

“Despite a $30 billion drop in net farm income from 2022 to 2023 and another large projected decline in 2024, net farm income remains above annual levels from 2015 to 2020,” FAPRI Director Pat Westhoff said. “Still, there’s no question farm finances are much tighter than they were just two years ago.”

The report also noted that lower prices for farm inputs, such as fertilizer, partially offset the drop in commodity prices but not enough to avoid declines in farmers’ net returns. For livestock producers, lower prices for corn and soybeans reduce feed costs, offsetting price and demand challenges.

FAPRI’s annual outlook provides projections for agricultural and biofuel markets and serves as a point of reference for food and farm policy. The full report is available online at, but here are some key predictions:
• Corn prices that averaged $6.54 per bushel in 2022-23 fall to a projected $4.39 per bushel in 2024-25, soybeans fall from $14.20 per bushel to a projected $10.73 per bushel and, after averaging a record $8.83 per bushel in 2022-23, wheat prices are expected to fall to $6.13 per bushel.
• Rising production of renewable diesel increases demand for soybean oil plus other fats and oils, but the resulting increase in crush puts downward pressure on soybean meal prices. 
• Hog, poultry and milk prices all declined in 2023 as demand weakened. Projected hog prices are similar in 2024 as in 2023, while small declines are expected for poultry and milk prices.
• In contrast, cattle prices increased in 2023, and further increases are expected in 2024 and 2025. 
• For consumers, food price inflation slowed in 2023, and FAPRI’s report suggests that this trend could continue in 2024. The consumer price index for food is expected to rise 2.1% in 2024, with the food-away-from-home category accounting for most of the increase.


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State Fair cancels arena events as new facility construction gets underway

Construction of a new indoor arena at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia is both good news and bad news for attendees.

The bad news is that all activities typically held in the existing State Fair Arena are canceled for the 2024 fair, planned Aug. 8-18. This includes popular events such as the rodeo, demolition derby, motocross and tractor pulls.

The good news is that the facility’s replacement will eventually provide a modern and versatile space for a wide range of events during the State Fair and throughout the year. The enclosed, climate-controlled arena will be equipped to host livestock competitions, conferences, trade shows, community gatherings and other multi-purpose uses.

“It saddens us that we won’t be able to host some events this year as we move forward with the new arena build, but this project represents a significant investment in the fair’s future,” said Jason Moore, Missouri State Fair director. “We can’t wait to welcome back these events—and more—once construction is complete.”

The new state-of-the-art complex, measuring approximately 140,000 square feet, will be built by Nabholz Construction. Moore said groundbreaking will take place this summer with anticipated completion sometime in 2026. Patrons are encouraged to stay updated on the construction progress after it begins through the Fair’s social media channels and website,


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Mizzou honors Verslues for ‘Distinguished Service’

CAFNR recognizes MFA leader’s commitment to ag education with prestigious Mumford Award 

Described by nominators as a “true servant-leader,” MFA Incorporated CEO Ernie Verslues received the 2024 Frederick B. Mumford Award for Distinguished Service April 16 during the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Celebration of Excellence ceremony. 

The award, considered one of CAFNR’s top honors, has been presented since 1999 and is named after Frederick B. Mumford, who served as the College’s fifth dean from 1909 to 1938.

“To me service isn’t really about what you’ve done, it is really about why you do it,” Verslues said as he accepted the award. “Although I am not a graduate of the MU College of Ag, I’m a big supporter because of how it prepares students to be the next leaders in agriculture. Anyone I have ever worked with from the school has a real passion and purpose every day. I’d like to thank you for accepting me, a Mule from UCM, into the CAFNR community, and I’ll forever be grateful.”

Nominators cited the longstanding relationship between MFA and CAFNR and Verslues’ personal commitment to agricultural education in Missouri as reasons he was selected for the award.

“Ernie gives generously of his time to meet with students, to host ag business classes at MFA Incorporated, to match students with appropriate MFA staff for research opportunities and to contribute industry expertise and leadership for both student-facing and executive education programming,” said Harvey James, director and professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences.

Verslues’ involvement with CAFNR includes serving as professor for a day and executive in residence for students, and he has been part of the joint effort to fund an endowed professorship in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. He serves on the boards of the CAFNR Foundation, The Missouri 4-H Foundation, and the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL). In 2018, he was recognized for his many contributions to CAFNR as an honorary alumnus. 

“Despite the unending obligations that come with being president and CEO of a century-strong, top-35 agricultural cooperative in the country, Ernie generously gives of his personal time to support GICL,” said Keri L. Jacobs, GICL executive director. “He demonstrates time and again his commitment to such programs by supporting his employees and farmer-directors in their participation.”

The Mumford Award for Distinguished Service was the only award given at the Celebration of Excellence to an individual other than MU faculty, staff and students. Information on other award winners can be found online
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