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Abstract

USDA and Cooperative Extension Service forecasts of hog prices are directly tested for incremental value vis-à-vis futures-based forecasts in a forecast encompassing framework. At horizons less than six months, the lean hog futures-based forecast is found to be more accurate than both the USDA and Extension Service forecasts, and the difference in forecasting performance is statistically significant. Not only are the agency forecasts less accurate, but neither the USDA nor the Extension Service forecasts add incremental information relative to the futures forecast. The results suggest that extension forecasters may want to refocus forecasting efforts on basis relationships, longer forecast horizons, or commodities without active futures markets.

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