Wine as an economic indicator

Wine GlassLee Ann Pearce, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Specialty Crops

You’ve likely never stopped to think about how the quality and price point of the wine in your wine glass reflects the consumer’s current perception of the economy. So, you might be surprised to learn that, historically, wine consumption has been a pretty good indicator of how confident the American consumer is feeling about the economy.

Merger mania is the name of the game for crop inputs

M & ALon Swanson, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Crop Inputs and Feed
Chris Eggerman, Wells Fargo Sector Analyst, Crop Inputs and Feed

Mergers in the Food and Agribusiness industry have been taking place for decades as farmers, suppliers, and processors have worked to improve efficiencies in effort to increase their bottom lines.

I remember when my Dad “merged” his farm with my Uncle Evert’s farm operation so they could share their harvesting equipment. The purchase of a new combine at a price tag of $300,000 made far more sense when it could service 2,000 combined acres rather than 1,000 acres, therefore spreading this capital expenditure across more acres.

Are big box retailers making “mom and pop” nurseries extinct?

Woman Picking Pink FlowersDavid Branch, Wells Fargo Sector Manager – Nurseries/Greenhouses

As I travel throughout the U.S. visiting different nursery and greenhouse businesses, I continue to observe how this industry has evolved and changed over time. What began as a highly localized industry where plants were grown and sold directly to customers now appears to be dominated by large, multi-state growers who grow and sell their product to big-box retailers such as The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart.

Trends in breakfast food consumption reflect changes in broader eating habits

Breakfast imageRob Fox, Wells Fargo Dairy Sector Manager

In the 1970s, my typical breakfast consisted of multiple bowls of sugary cereal with a glass of milk and orange juice. Today, my children, of ages similar to mine in the 70s, have never eaten sugary cereals, and breakfast juice consumption is an uncommon event. On a recent family vacation, as I watched my kids eating yogurt and berries for breakfast, it led me to wonder what available data might tell us about current breakfast food trends and the direction they are heading.

Egg market: Limited supplies and high prices prevail

{e294d3ee-1778-4312-92ef-0fc90bc95853}_1737203_article_hence_photo_allarticlesTed Tice, Wells Fargo Agribusiness Consultant

The U.S. outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in spring 2015 has predominantly affected turkey and egg producers; broiler producers have felt minimal effects. Prior to the outbreak, analysts estimated the U.S. egg laying flock at roughly 303 million birds. (more…)

Softwood lumber market remains volatile

{bf46866c-4cde-4da2-aeac-77666174e1c1}_article_image_all_articlesKevin Bergquist, Wells Fargo Agribusiness Consultant

The U.S. lumber industry faces continual volatility, with major market swings a reality for those working within the industry. The interplay between domestic and foreign trade contributes to an unpredictable lumber market. Additionally, macroeconomic demand factors, such as U.S. housing starts, have a major effect on the market.


2015 Expectations for the hog and pork protein sector

{8b3b8b5f-9bed-45e2-b347-dfbc838241cc}_may_article_150x192Ted Tice, Wells Fargo Agribusiness Consultant

Pork supply is large. A March 27, 2015 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report indicated sharply higher supplies of hogs and pork in 2015, caused by an over-expansion of animal breeding in a proactive effort to compensate in case the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) epidemic repeated itself during the 2014 winter. (more…)