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Who’s planting? Who’s not? Who wants to know?

Sabri Ben-Achour Aug 12, 2019
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A farmer walks through his soy fields in 2018, in Harvard, Illinois.
Nova Safo/AFP/Getty Images)

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to shed light on a mystery. How many acres of key crops, like corn and soybeans, were planted this year in the U.S.? And how many were not?

Normally, the USDA would have a decent idea of this by now. But devastating flooding, torrential rain, late blizzards and generally terrible weather this spring meant farmers were significantly delayed in their ability to plant. That delay interfered with the ability of the USDA to get an accurate estimate of planting.

The department had to redo its surveys, and those numbers are due to come out today. The acreage of soybeans and corn being planted is critical to estimating prices down the road; the entire agricultural supply chain for key crops — from farmers to shippers to ethanol producers — will be looking for clues to those prices in this report.

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