Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2013 4:48 PM
The Associated Press
WELSH, La. (AP) -- Despite uncertainty surrounding federal farm legislation, agricultural economists are optimistic about the market outlook for rice and soybeans with higher prices and more varieties expected.
The American Press reports (http://bit.ly/ZsRyX5) that was the message given to more than 50 Southwest Louisiana rice and soybean growers attending an agriculture forum last week in Welsh.
LSU AgCenter economist Mike Salassi says rice and soybean prices have been rising the last few years but could become more stable as farmers plant fewer crops and report less yields due to anticipated changes in the farm bill.
Salassi says the market average is $14.50 to $15 a hundredweight for rice, while soybean prices likely peaked at $13 to $15 in December and will decline.
"Rice prices look like they are holding steady and may even raise a little bit before the end of the marketing year in August," he said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates domestic use and export of the crop are at higher levels than in the previous year, he said.
"They are estimating we are going to end this year in the summer with less rice carried over in terms of total volume as well as percent of use," he said. "These are the numbers the market looks at to determine where prices are going to go."
Soybean acreage was also up but because of the drought, the average yield was down, Salassi said.
Rice farmers are closely watching a farm bill under consideration in Congress, he said.
"Out of all of the commodities, rice is probably going to be the most negatively impacted because their payments are going to be reduced," he said.
The current farm bill expired Dec. 31, but has been extended for nine months, Salassi said.
Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.