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Agriculture Risk Advisor

Agriculture Risk Advisor

January 2018


Taking the time to winterize your equipment during the offseason could save you from costly repairs and delays come springtime. Extend the life of your farming equipment in five easy and affordable steps:

  1. Repair minor damage. Addressing past damage can ensure that parts don’t rust or degrade further during the winter.
  2. Keep tanks full. Condensation can occur on empty tanks when the weather warms up in spring, causing water to enter the tanks.
  3. Clean your equipment. Remove plant debris that can cause steel to rust. Vacuum and clean out combine cabs to keep pests away from wiring.
  4. Disconnect or charge batteries. Batteries connected to unused equipment can leak. If you plan to use a piece of equipment over the winter, make sure it is as fully charged as possible.
  5. Store equipment properly. Cover any equipment that is stored outdoors, and protect computerized mechanisms with a cloth.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its quarterly agricultural export forecast on Nov. 30, 2017. According to the forecast, the 2017 fiscal year had the third-highest export total on record. U.S. agricultural exports are expected to continue to be strong in the 2018 fiscal year with a forecast of $140 billion, which would be the fourth-best year in history. Another positive takeaway is that agriculture’s trade surplus is expected to jump from $21.3 billion to $23 billion.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue attributed the positive forecast to robust sales to trading partners in East Asia and North America. China, Canada and Mexico will be the largest U.S. customers, accounting for nearly 45 percent of exports in 2018. Exports continue to be a major influence to the rural economy, as they generate 20 percent of U.S. farm income and support more than 1 million U.S. jobs.



The USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture was mailed to U.S. farmers in phases throughout December. Respondents may notice revisions that were made to the census in an attempt to document emerging trends and changes in the industry.

The census is sent to the nation’s producers every five years and is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial data for every county in the nation.

Respondents have until Feb. 5, 2018, to respond to the census, either by mail or by using the updated online questionnaire. Responses are required by law.