Later in February each year the USDA holds the Outlook Forum. It is the USDA's first look or projection on how many acres of the major crops will be planted in the United States this year, what the yields will be, total demand, carryover and price estimates. It seemed for many years the USDA made very bearish assumptions, increasing yields, acres,decreasing demand and increasing carryovers. The result of course was projected lower prices. Finally this year was a little different!

The USDA is projecting about 90 million acres of corn this year and a little over 90 million acres of soybeans. This would be the first year United States farmers will plant more acres of soybeans than corn! The average corn price is projected to increase 3 percent to $3.40 a bushel. The average soybean price is projected at $9.25 down a half a percent. Overall net farm income will remain flat.

There is one figure that I found the most encouraging that better times may be ahead. We have just gone through 4 years where world carryovers of corn and soybeans were increasing every year. Looking ahead this is the first year that world carryovers are expected to decline! I realize a lot can happen with the weather here, in South America and a "Black Swan" event. But at least maybe there is hope?