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New Report on Rural Economy

“Quarterly U.S. Rural Economic Review” Will Focus On Key Trends In Agriculture,  Commodities and Rural Infrastructure

CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, announced today that it is launching a new quarterly economic report focused on major trends in the nation’s rural economy.

CoBank’s Quarterly U.S. Rural Economic Review will cover key industries the bank finances, including food and agribusiness, power, water and communications. The report will be distributed on a complimentary basis to all customers and partners of the bank.

“We’re delighted to be introducing this publication, which we believe will provide valuable perspective on market conditions in the industries we serve,” said Robert B. Engel, CoBank’s president and chief executive officer. “CoBank continues to invest in research and knowledge-sharing programs in order to offer greater service and value to our customers, and this new report is an exciting part of that broader initiative.”

The first edition of the quarterly review will be released on Friday, January 27. Leonard Sahling, manager of the bank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, said the report will provide a balanced survey of the agribusiness and rural infrastructure sectors.

“Risks in the grain markets are tilting to the downside,” Sahling said. “During 2012, acreage shifts and more normal harvests in the U.S. would bolster global stocks and weaken prices. At the same time, the recent easing in grain and oilseed prices has provided relief and improved profit margins for the cattle, hog, poultry, and dairy industries even as they continue to adapt to high input prices.”

Meanwhile, Sahling said, many rural infrastructure providers are grappling with a variety of challenges, including volatile energy prices, continued weakness in housing, and shifting public policy. “Across the board, CoBank’s rural electric, water and communications customers are working hard to improve service and upgrade their facilities, despite an uncertain regulatory environment,” Sahling said.

“We hope this quarterly report will prove to be of real value to our customers and partners, and we look forward to their feedback on our first edition,” Sahling said.

The January 2012 report will be distributed to designated customer executives via email and also posted on the Knowledge Exchange section of the CoBank web site. Copies will also be available through CoBank relationship managers.

About Knowledge Exchange
Knowledge Exchange is an innovative knowledge-sharing initiative that is designed to provide strategic insights about trends, structural change, and policy directives within the key rural industries served by CoBank. It draws upon the expertise within CoBank and the rest of the Farm Credit System, the broad perspective of outside consultants and academics, and the first-hand knowledge and experience of customers to enhance understanding of emerging business opportunities and risks.

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