Quarterly Research Reports

The Quarterly, from the CoBank Knowledge Exchange, provides a broad view of the rural industries financed by CoBank.

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The Quarterly: Omicron Upends Supply Chain Recovery
January 2022

Against all hope for a better start to 2022, omicron has crashed the New Year’s party. Renewed supply chain disruptions are being felt throughout the economy, causing empty shelves again and threatening to fan the flames of inflation.

The Quarterly: Adapting to Persistent Supply Disruptions
October 2021

Businesses of all sizes and across most industries are wrestling with perhaps the worst supply chain bottlenecks to date

The Quarterly: A Long Tail—Pandemic After-Effects are Just Beginning
July 2021

The long-awaited period of pent-up, exuberant demand is here. And for all the benefits to businesses and consumers, bumps are unavoidable – labor shortages, price inflation, supply chain disruptions, and uncertainty about what a new steady-state economy will look like. They loom large, even as we celebrate a return to normalcy.

The Quarterly: We’re Not Going Back to Pre-COVID Conditions
April 2021

Anticipation of a return to normal is in the air. But for the economy and rural industries, there will be no going back to pre-COVID conditions.

The Quarterly: New Year Optimism Confronts the Pandemic
January 2021

2021 has quickly altered the political and market landscape. And optimism, particularly about the second half of the year, is rising. But to get there, all of us must muddle through for a few months more.

The Quarterly, October 2020: The Fragile Recovery is About to be Tested
October 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has now impacted all four quarters of 2020, and seemingly every aspect of life and business. 

The Quarterly, July 2020: Rural Industries Adapt to Coronavirus Reality
July 2020

Over the past four months, every rural industry has grappled with how to adjust its business to remain relevant and sustainable in the pandemic. Agricultural supply chains have been massively disrupted and lost revenue. Water and power suppliers have adapted as commercial and industrial customers went dark and demand shifted to residential customers. And the communications industry is seizing a moment when home broadband access has become vividly essential, to help expand access to everyone, everywhere.

The Quarterly, April 2020: Keeping Us Connected, Our Lights On, and Our Pantries Full
April 2020

The beginning of a new quarter finds us in unparalleled times – a pandemic ravaging the world, the U.S. economy in shutdown, millions of Americans out of work, and financial markets in turmoil. 

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, December 2019: Trade Resolutions Boost Optimism for a New Year
December 2019

The fourth quarter is ending with much more optimism on trade and the economy compared to how it began. 

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, October 2019: Trade Remains the Focus as Tariffs Take Toll on Agriculture
October 2019

Uncertainty over trade policy, weather and African Swine Fever dominated agricultural markets last quarter.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, June 2019: Stalled Trade Talks, Record Rains Upend Agriculture
June 2019

Global economic growth continues to slide, as tariffs drag on global trade and manufacturing.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, March 2019: Agriculture Still Waiting For Relief
March 2019

U.S. agriculture is poised for serious challenges for the remainder of 2019.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, December 2018: Agriculture Limps into 2019
December 2018

Agriculture and its farmer cooperatives will face a challenging environment in 2019. Commodity markets have steadied, but resolution of ongoing trade disputes and completion of recently concluded trade negotiations will be critical to restoring optimism for the year ahead.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, October 2018: Rising Output Compressing Agricultural Margins
October 2018

The escalating trade war with China is the leading risk for U.S. agriculture. Retaliatory actions taken by China and other trading partners have raised concerns of long lasting effects on agricultural supply chains. 

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, June 2018: Trade War Rhetoric Shifts to Reality
June 2018

The risk of an escalating trade war is the greatest threat to the U.S. and agricultural economies in the near term. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are sold to destinations that are under active negotiations or embroiled in trade disputes.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, March 2018: Trade War Risks Loom Over Agriculture
March 2018

An impending trade war, continued large global supplies, and negotiations over a new farm bill and tax extenders continue to present challenges for U.S. agriculture and farmer cooperatives. Reduced harvests in Argentina and potential droughts in some parts of the U.S. have steadied grain and oilseed market prices but there remains a potential for significant volatility.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, December 2017: Agriculture Contends with Large Supplies and Trade Uncertainties
December 2017

Uncertainties over U.S. trade policies have made some foreign buyers reexamine their supply chain dependency on U.S. products and provided an opportunity for U.S. competitors to aggressively pursue bilateral trade agreements.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, October 2017: Unrelenting Abundance
October 2017

The U.S. dollar has weakened roughly 10 percent from its recent high, benefiting U.S. exporters. But U.S. economic growth will be difficult to sustain beyond 2.5 percent.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, June 2017: New Crop Potential and Trade Uncertainties Driving Markets
June 2017

The grain industry continues to grapple with large inventories. Strong demand and pockets of weather concerns, however, give reason for optimism.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, March 2017: Mounting Oversupplies and Trade Uncertainties Roiling the Agricultural Markets
March 2017

The U.S. is now the epicenter of global uncertainty, amidst questions and concerns about the direction of its economic, trade, and foreign policies.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, December 2016: Massive Grain and Oilseed Stocks Weigh on Commodity Markets
December 2016

Agricultural producers across the U.S. all face a common challenge consisting of a widening imbalance between demand and supply, growing dependence on exports, and the attendant downward price pressures.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, September 2016: Record U.S. Harvests Disrupt the Grain Market Dynamics
September 2016

Growers and grain handlers in the U.S. are bracing for record corn and soybean harvests this fall following a healthy wheat harvest that now occupies a substantial amount of grain storage space. U.S. agriculture will likely test the effectiveness of the safety net provided by the 2014 Farm Bill, and U.S. growers will find the next year or two to be even more challenging than the previous two years.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, June 2016: Price Volatility Returns to Agriculture
June 2016

Despite ample grain and oilseed inventories in the U.S. and throughout the world, fears of hot and dry growing conditions associated with La Niña at least temporarily reversed months of continual downward market pressure, and priced in a risk premium.

Quarterly US Rural Economic Review, March 2016: Agricultural Challenges Mount as Prices and Margins Wane
March 2016

The torrent of bearish news continues for U.S. agricultural producers. The U.S. dollar remains elevated relative to world currencies, severely hampering U.S. commodity exports which are now widely seen as much lower than the USDA’s latest projections.