2020 truly has been a year like no other for Illinois agriculture. The year started with great hope for a surge in agricultural exports to China as a result of the Phase I trade agreement with China and then the COVID pandemic hit. The pandemic absolutely rocked the global economy and caused the US economy to fall into the worst contraction since the Great Depression. This caused most agricultural prices to plummet and the creation of new ad hoc government programs to assist the sector. Just when it appeared that things might get even worse with large crops this summer, the grain markets took off, with corn prices rising to $4 and soybean prices to $11.

Farmland is receiving significantly increased attention by owners and investors seeking to make sense out of the scrambled economic signals of the recent past.  Historically, the conventional narrative around farmland as a financial asset is that the returns are positively correlated with inflation, have low or negative correlation with equities, and have positive portfolio benefits in well-diversified holdings due to the relative lack of response to short-term broad market movements.  The Fed has signaled an intent to target higher inflation, and the changing posture on trade and world demand could drive commodity prices, though perhaps not as clearly linked to dollar prices.  This session examines the relative returns to farmland over differing macro-environment periods of the past, and suggests the strength of relationship to expect in the future to financial assets, interest rate indexes, and inflation.

College of Agricultural and Consumer Economics Presenter
Bruce Sherrick, Professor and Director, TIAA Center for Farmland Research

The webinar will consist of 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes for Q&A. Registration is free. Signing up for this session also gives access to the entire 2020 Virtual Illinois Farm Economic Summit

Other 2020 Virtual Illinois Farm Economic Summit sessions

Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, please contact Ryan Batts at batts@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for the requested accommodation.