Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Wheat climbs to $7 per bushel

 

February 18, 2021



COLFAX — The price of wheat is more than $7 for the first time in more than five years.

The change is attributed to a few reasons. One is American corn production was short of the USDA’s forecast in 2020 causing a price increase, thus foreign feed buyers have opted for wheat over corn.

The wheat price in Portland first went above $7 on Jan. 8.

Another factor cited is the weakened value of the dollar, which makes for foreign wheat buyers like Japan and China able to use their currency to obtain more wheat.

“When the dollar value gets low, it makes our wheat a better bargain,” said Gary Bailey, St. John farmer and boardmember for U.S. Wheat Associates and the Washington Grain Commission. “Everything (is) working together to pull the price up.”

More U.S. exports mean higher prices.

Bailey explains the increased price indirectly affects local growers at the moment, as the majority has already sold their 2020 crop. Some farmers choose to store some of their grain to wait for higher prices, so they may be selling now or waiting further.

“If you don’t have any bushels to sell at ($7), it’s not going to help you out,” Bailey said.

The price increase follows a year when farmers received $46.5 billion from the federal government. It’s the biggest government to farm payment in U.S. history (not adjusted for inflation). The number includes $32 billion in the coronavirus paycheck protection program and pandemic relief food assistance.

 

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