Meat-Poultry-Milk Production Estimates Up and Deere Sales Higher
**Amid depressed farm income, the USDA says American farmers will produce record amounts of meat, poultry and milk this year while slightly increasing plantings of major field crops.
According to Agri-Pulse, USDA's chief economist Rob Johansson says the decline in U.S. farm income, projected to continue in 2018, reflects that "productivity is outpacing population growth and food demand."
But he noted the International Monetary Fund sharply raised its 2017-19 growth estimates, showing marked growth in the last year should continue stable over the next few years, boosting demand."
**John Deere's worldwide sales of ag and turf equipment are forecast to increase by about 15 percent for 2018.
Agrimarketing.com reports, sales in the U.S. and Canada are forecast to be up about 10 percent for 2018, led by demand for large equipment.
Sales in Europe look to be up about 5 percent due to improving conditions in the dairy and livestock.
South American sales flat to up 5 percent, and Asian sales in line with last year.
**The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index sprang higher in February from January's below growth neutral reading. This is the first time since July 2015 the overall index has advanced above growth neutral, according to the latest monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas.
The overall index soared to 54.8 from 46.8 in January, the highest reading for the overall index since May 2014.