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Agricultural economists discuss USDA report in live Webcast

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Written Thursday, March 19, 2009  

Two Purdue University agricultural economists will crunch U.S. Department of Agriculture planting intentions data and share their insights during an online meeting from 7-9 p.m. March 31.

Chris Hurt and Corinne Alexander will discuss the USDA's "Prospective Plantings" report and offer marketing strategies on the same day the report is issued. Online participants can ask questions electronically and view and print Hurt's and Alexander's PowerPoint presentation. The meeting will be conducted using Adobe Connect, a Web conferencing program.

To participate in the live online meeting or watch an archived version later, log onto https://gomeet.itap.purdue.edu/march31outlook . Some county offices of Purdue Extension also plan to host the live Webcast. For more information, contact a Purdue Extension office.

The annual "Prospective Plantings" report estimates how many acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops American farmers expect to plant each year. Acreage projections are based on a survey the USDA conducts with farmers across the country.

"The report is the first indication of what farmers are actually going to plant this year," Alexander said. Farmers and commodities traders pay close attention to the planting intentions report, she added.

"We expect the report to have a major impact on markets," Alexander said. "If you think back over the last couple of years, we've seen major acreage swings on the order of millions of acres moving out of corn or soybeans, or back into corn and soybeans and wheat, as well. We're expecting the same sort of massive acreage shifts this year."

In the 2008 planting intentions report, the USDA estimated that the nation's farmers would plant 86 million acres of corn, 74.8 million acres of soybeans and 63.8 million acres of wheat. Farmers eventually planted 85.9 million acres of corn, 75.7 million acres of soybeans and 63.1 million acres of wheat.

Large acreage shifts are likely this year, Alexander said.

"We at Purdue are estimating that corn acreage will be down nationwide by about 1 million acres, soybeans will be up by 6 million acres and wheat will be down by 4 million acres," Alexander said.

Those interested in watching the Purdue online meeting should have DSL/high-speed Internet access. Computers must have Adobe Flash Player installed to receive the Adobe Connect program. A free plug-in download of Adobe Flash Player is available at http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/ .

When logging in for the meeting, computer users should click "Enter as a Guest," enter their name and then click the "Enter Room" button. Make sure computer speakers are plugged in and turned on to hear the presentation.

The 2009 USDA "Prospective Plantings" report can be accessed after 8:30 a.m. EST March 31 online at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1136 .

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