Director, Knowledge Exchange
Rob Fox is director of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division. He leads the team of economists that produces market and industry research in the agricultural and infrastructure sectors affecting the rural economy.
Prior to joining CoBank, Mr. Fox spent 13 years in food and agribusiness commercial banking. He has over 25 years of experience in a wide array of agriculture-related roles, in both private industry and the public sector. He started his career as an agricultural economist with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, and later became a farm business management specialist with the University of Wisconsin Extension Service. Mr. Fox and his wife, Jennifer, also owned and operated a 125-cow dairy farm in western Wisconsin.
Mr. Fox earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of California, Davis.
Despite multiple systemic shocks in recent years – COVID-19, trade conflict with China, the Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation and interest rates – our economy has performed strongly.
The Fed’s relentless 20-month attack on inflation has pushed long-term interest rates to their highest levels in years.
Despite predictions for a slowdown, the U.S. economy remains the envy of the world. Jobs are plentiful, asset values are near all-time highs, and consumers are spending
Average U.S. mailbox milk prices have dropped more than $6.00/cwt since peaking last May. While milk supply here and in Europe has been edging marginally higher since late 2022, we would argue that the price decline is largely due to broader economic factors that are limiting dairy demand both in the U.S. and abroad.
Effects from higher interest rates are permeating rural industries
The war in Ukraine and inflation will remain the two biggest factors for commodity
markets in the first half of 2023.
The Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation, and an energy crisis joined the COVID-19 pandemic this year as major events defining the operating environment for U.S. companies. We can expect to feel the aftershocks in 2023.
Despite ongoing impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and lingering supply chain
effects from the pandemic, the U.S. economy remains incredibly resilient.
Fears of higher rates and weakening economic conditions
linger over the year’s second half.
For the first time in perhaps decades, food inflation is garnering headlines and sending government policymakers scrambling for quick solutions.
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.
As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is still in control of the economy.
Businesses of all sizes and across most industries are wrestling with perhaps the worst supply chain bottlenecks to date
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.