Grain Barges on Mississippi Down and U.S. Sweet Potato Exports
**The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service says the number of grain barges being unloaded in New Orleans during September and October dropped significantly, down 20-30% from recent years.
The slowdown coincides with river closures and restrictions on barge companies that reduced the bar tow.
Typically, 30-40 barges can move down the river together, and the new restriction says no more than 25.
**The U.S. is not the only country enjoying U.S. sweet potatoes.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. was the top global exporter, by volume, of sweet potatoes in 2020.
U.S. sweet potato exports on a fresh-weight basis increased 1,157% from 2001 to 2021, and the annual value of exports grew from $14 million to $187 million in the same period.
**The top concern facing ag lenders in 2023 is interest rate volatility, according to the 2022 Agricultural Lender Survey report produced by the American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac.
Nearly half ranked interest rate volatility among their top two concerns, up 35.5% from last year.
While rising rates have helped bolster bank net interest margins, a combination of higher funding costs, fears of weakening loan demand and strong competition is expected to cut into rising yields.