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Data & Analysis

Agriculture - March 2008

Data Sources on the Web
South Florida Water Management District
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S Drought Monitor
Excel logo Data
Prices Received by Farmers—Poultry
Prices Received by Farmers-Poultry
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Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Excel logo Data
Prices Received by Farmers—Cotton
Prices Received by Farmers-Cotton
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Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Excel logo Data
Prices Received by Farmers—Oranges
Prices Received by Farmers-Oranges
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Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Data and Analysis

Agriculture

March 2008

Although drought conditions eased for most areas in late February and early March, the March 2008 U.S Drought Monitor ranked areas of Alabama, north Georgia, and south Florida from severe to exceptionally dry. Lake Okeechobee, currently at ten feet, is four feet below normal levels. According to the South Florida Water Management District, November to January rainfall was below normal. Local officials expect water restrictions on agriculture to continue if lake levels continue to drop by early summer.

Current market conditions for poultry and cotton are favorable as higher prices have boosted the near-term outlook. Higher citrus production in Florida and Brazil partly contributed to softening prices for those goods.

Poultry
Cotton
Oranges

Poultry
With nearly $8 billion in cash receipts in 2007, poultry is the Sixth District's most important farm sector. Last year poultry producers benefited from strong demand from export markets such as Russia, China, and Mexico. Prices were near record highs in February 2008. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates, strong export growth has left inventories below year-earlier levels.

Cotton
Cotton is a $2 billion cash-producing industry that for many years has been the benchmark for Southeastern agriculture. Cotton prices have surged higher in recent months, and some contacts noted that part of the recent increase may be a result of speculative buying. Over the past year some farm production has been shifted out of cotton production to take advantage of increased demand for alternative crops such as corn.

Oranges
District citrus production is concentrated in fifty-five Florida counties, accounting for $1.4 billion in farm receipts in 2007. Florida's USDA February orange forecast for 2008, at 166 million boxes, is 29 percent higher than last season's crop, which was affected by the damage caused by hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 as well as disease. Prices have softened somewhat because of the rebound in supply.


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