Ag Economy Barometer Drops in February and H-2A Labor Certification
**The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dropped five points to 125 in February.
Farmers’ perspectives on both current conditions and their expectations for the future weakened during the month.
The Index of Current Conditions dipped two points to 134, and the Index of Future Expectations dropped six points to 121.
Concerns include the risk of falling commodity prices, rising interest rates, and uncertainty over the future growth of ag exports.
**The USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates for 2022-23 U.S. corn calls for lower exports and larger ending stocks.
Exports dropped 75 million bushels to reflect the poor pace of sales and shipments this year despite relatively competitive U.S. prices.
With no other changes from February, ending stocks rose by 75 million bushels.
**The Department of Labor recently announced a final rule to amend H-2A temporary labor certification regulations, but not everyone is happy.
Western Growers Association President Dave Puglia (POO-glee-ah) says the administration will now mandate that farmers pay higher wages to H-2A and domestic workers.
He says, increasing wages by regulatory order will force farmers to cut back on plantings and increase their farm operations in Mexico and other countries where the wages are a fraction of the H-2A wage.