Oklahoma's Latest Farm
And Ranch News
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
CoBank Quarterly: The Federal Reserve's Efforts to Temper Inflation and Cool the Economy Will Continue
Consumer Spending Seemingly Unfazed by Inflation, Interest Rate Hikes

The Federal Reserve is finding it harder to cool the economy than almost anyone expected. Most corners of the U.S. economy are performing very well considering the Fed has been aggressively raising rates for seven months. Manufacturing continues to expand, consumer spending remains strong, the labor market is still extremely tight and Q3 GDP data will likely show solid growth.

While the rate increases have done little to cool spending and tamp down inflation, critics are increasing their calls for the Fed to stop raising rates. The argument is that further monetary tightening will have catastrophic effects on the U.S. and global economies, and that inflation is about to fall precipitously. According to a new Quarterly report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, the Fed does not see it that way, nor should it.

“To date, there is no solid evidence that inflation is on a steep downward path and there is also little evidence that higher rates are severely damaging the economy,” said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “Ultimately, to get inflation levels down, the willingness or ability of consumers and businesses to spend must also come down. That means rate hikes will continue until the Fed achieves its mandate of price stability. Unfortunately, that increases the likelihood of collateral damage coming in the first half of 2023.”

There are signs of slowing, however, which are the first cracks to form from monetary tightening, noted Kowalski. Consumer credit is on the rise while savings rates are falling. And wage growth is falling even as inflation remains high, reducing consumer purchasing power.

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KC Sheperd shares the story of Joey Carter, a hard-working farmer who was widely regarded as a model citizen in a rural North Carolina town. Carter is the focus of a movie coming out in October called Hog Farmer- the Trials of Joey Carter.
He was not the type of person who ever expected to find himself caught up in the middle of a federal lawsuit involving some of the nation’s most ruthless trial lawyers and one of the world’s largest food companies.

But that’s exactly what happened when Joey’s family farm became the focal point in a series of nuisance trials that attracted national and international media attention. While his neighbors leveled charges of environmental racism in hopes of winning multi-million-dollar verdicts, Joey was left wondering how this could happen to a man who has always taken pride in playing by the rules.

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KC Sheperd
Farm Director
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network

Ron Hays
Senior Farm/Ranch Broadcaster
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network