The two-day Emerging Issues in Agricultural Lending Symposium at MU ended Thursday. This is the second year for the symposium, which gathered a variety of agricultural lenders such as loan officers, credit analysists, regulators and board members.
The symposium brought in experts to speak to lenders on challenges the agriculture industry is currently facing and possible solutions.
Symposium Director Joe Horner says the symposium gives an opportunity for experts to share changes with lenders and for lenders to have a chance to share their ideas.
The first day of spring doesn’t feel that way as John Sam Williamson and Chris Starbuck meet up on a county road outside Columbia, Mo.
Temperatures are below freezing and a cold wind is whipping along the flat land here on the Missouri River bottoms. Williamson, a farmer whose family has owned this land for six generations, tugs at the bill of his John Deere cap and Starbuck, a retired University of Missouri plant scientist, pulls his Arborist Society stocking cap further down over his ears.
Seventeen ethanol plants nationwide have been idled since last June because of a scarcity of affordable corn due to the drought and a weak market for the corn-based fuel. On Friday, a plant in Macon, Mo., took the hit — and brought the number to 18.
The northeast Missouri plant is temporarily halting operations as corn prices top $7 a bushel. It's one of 27 plants that Poet Biorefining owns nationwide, and was the first ethanol plant opened in Missouri in 2000. It has been producing 46 million gallons of ethanol per year since 2003.
Holiday storms that pounded much of the nation with snow and rain did little to ease the overall grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades.
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that about 61 percent of the continental U.S. remained in some form of drought as of Tuesday, down less than a percentage point from the previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July.
More than 21 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That's down slightly from the previous week.