USFR Weekly Recap - April 19-20, 2014

April 19, 2014 03:30 AM
 

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THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT

EPISODE # 2123

APRIL 19-20, 2014   

 

JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. WHILE MANY OF US ARE FRUSTRATED BY COLD, WET UN-SPRING-LIKE WEATHER, WE HAVE BEEN PLEASED TO WATCH CORN AND BEAN MARKETS REVERSE THEIR POST-HARVEST TUMBLES. THE POOR PLANTING PACE IS A BIG FACTOR, BUT THE BIGGER MARKET-MOVER IS DEMAND FROM THE GLOBAL PROTEIN SECTOR. 2014 COULD BE A GET-HEALTHY YEAR FOR EVERYTHING FROM CHICKEN TO DIARY, AS SHORT SUPPLIES AND RECOVERING ECONOMIES KEEP MEATS IN RECORD PRICE TERRITORY. GOOD ON YA, MATES. AFTER LETTING DOWN OUR FEED CUSTOMERS WITH SHORT CROPS TOO OFTEN IN THE PAST FEW YEARS, I'M GLAD TO SEE THEM GETTING SOME TIME IN THE SUN. OF COURSE, THIS FEED CROP ISN'T EXACTLY IN THE BIN YET.

HEADLINES:

OLD MAN WINTER JUST WON'T BUDGE. ANOTHER COLD FRONT CAME THROUGH THIS WEEK THAT BROUGHT BELOW FREEZING TEMPERATURES AND EVEN SOME SNOW. WHILE THE FRONT HELPED BOOST COMMODITY PRICES, THERE ARE CONCERNS THE COLD CRIPPLED CROPS. THAT INCLUDES THE U-S WHEAT CROP. AFTER THE HARD FREEZE HIT AREAS OF THE PLAINS, SOUTH AND MIDWEST, SOME FARMERS FEAR WHEAT CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE QUICKLY. BEFORE THE FREEZE, THE LATEST CROP PROGRESS REPORT SHOWED WHEAT CONDITIONS WERE EVENLY DISPERSED. AS OF APRIL 14, USDA SAYS A THIRD OF THE CROP IS GOOD TO EXCELLENT, ANOTHER THIRD IS FAIR. THE REST IS POOR TO VERY POOR. BUT WITH TEMPS IN THE 20'S FOR SEVERAL HOURS IN OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS, DAMAGE IS LIKELY. MEANWHILE, IT'S NO SURPRISE USDA SHOWS CORN PLANTING IS BEHIND AVERAGE.  IN THE LATEST CROP PROGRESS REPORT, THE AGENCY SHOWS 3 PERCENT OF THE NATION'S CROP IS IN the GROUND. WHILE THAT'S HALF OF NORMAL, THAT IS ONE POINT AHEAD OF LAST YEAR'S SLOW PACE. 8 PERCENT OF THE COTTON CROP IS PLANTED. A POINT BEHIND AVERAGE, BUT RIGHT ON TRACK WITH LAST YEAR.  AND FARMERS GOT 9 PERCENT OF THE SORGHUM CROP PLANTED JUST LAST WEEK. IT NOW SITS AT 20 PERCENT PLANTED, 3 POINTS BEHIND LAST YEAR, BUT ONLY A POINT BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE. CHINA'S REJECTIONS OF U-S CORN ARE HURTING EXPORT SALES. CORN SALES TO CHINA ARE NOW DOWN ABOUT 85 PERCENT COMPARED TO A YEAR AGO. THE NATIONAL FEED AND GRAIN ASSOCIATION SAYS THE REJECTION OF UNAPPROVED GENETICALLY MODIFIED CORN TRAITS ARE COSTING GRAIN COMPANIES 427 MILLION DOLLARS IN LOST SALES. STRONGER SOYBEAN DEMAND HELPED DRIVE FUTURE PRICES THIS WEEK. THE NATIONAL OILSEED PROCESSORS ASOSICATION SAYS MEMBERS CRUSHED NEARLY 154 MILLION BUSHELS IN MARCH. THAT'S WAY ABOVE ORIGINAL FORECASTS AND THE HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 2001. INCREASED DEMAND ALSO MEANS THE U-S IS HAVING TO IMPORT MORE SOYBEANS. ANALYSTS SAY ITS CLEAR CURRENT PRICES ARE NOT YET HIGH ENOUGH TO RATION DOMESTIC DEMAND.

CROP WATCH:

FOR CROPWATCH, LET'S START WITH SOME DAMAGE IN THE SOUTH.

ROUNDTABLE:

WHAT IMPACT IS THAT ROLLERCOASTER WEATHER HAVING ON THE MARKETS? TYNE MORGAN DISCUSSES WITH MIKE HOGAN AND ANGIE MAGUIRE

JOHN’S WORLD:

NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE RECENTLY FEATURED A GRIM COVER STORY ABOUT FARMER SUICIDES. AS TROUBLING AS THIS IS, THE ACCOUNT WAS POORLY FRAMED AND OFFERED AN INACCURATE IMPRESSION IN MY OPINON. FIRST OFF, TOO OFTEN ON TOPICS WITH POWERFUL EMOTIONAL CONTENT LIKE SUICIDE, REPORTERS DON'T WORK TO PUT NUMBERS IN ANY PERSPECTIVE THAT MIGHT HELP READERS GRASP THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM. FARMER SUICIDES ARE ALWAYS TRAGIC STORIES. BUT THEY ARE ALSO SIMILAR TO THE MANY OTHER SUICIDES, ESPECIALLY AMONG MEN, THAT AFFLICT OUR CULTURE. AGRICULTURE HAS NO MONOPOLY ON THIS HEARTBREAKING PROBLEM. WHEN SUICIDES ARE ATTACHED TO OCCUPATIONS THE INFERENCES CAN TRIGGER UNWARRANTED CONCLUSIONS ABOUT AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY. SUICIDE STATISTICS ARE HARD TO FIND AND TAINTED BY UNDERREPORTING. SO STATEMENTS LIKE "U-S FARMERS HAVE A SUICIDE RATE TWICE AS HIGH AS THE GENERAL POPULATION" CAN BE MISLEADING. OUR PROFESSION IS OVERWHELMINGLY MALE, AND MALES COMMIT SUICIDE AT ALMOST 4 TIMES THE RATE OF FEMALES, FOR ONE THING. INDEED, THE OCCUPATIONAL SUICIDE RATE FOR FARMERS IS LOWER THAN MANY PROFESSIONS SUCH AS DOCTORS, DENTISTS, LATHE OPERATORS, AND REALTORS. BUT THE NUMBERS ARE SO SMALL THAT EVEN ONE OR TWO TRAGIC LOSSES CAN APPEAR AS A BIG ANNUAL INCREASE. I DO NOT MEAN TO DISMISS THE WIDESPREAD ANGUISH CAUSED BY THESE EVENTS, BUT THE LARGER CALAMITY OF SUICIDE IN THE U-S MAY NOT BE WHAT JOBS VICTIMS HELD. IT IS THAT SUICIDE IS NOW THE SECOND MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH FOR YOUNG MEN.

2ND HALF

JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. LIKE MOST FARMERS, I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED WITH FASHION, ESPECIALLY WHEN CHOOSING MY WORK ATTIRE. NOT HERE AT THE SHOW, OF COURSE - I'M TOLD WHAT TO WEAR, JUST LIKE WHEN GOING OUT WITH JAN. BUT ON THE JOB  AT THE FARM, I KEEP AN EAR TO THE GROUND AND MY NOSE TO THE FASHION  WIND IN ORDER TO CREATE THE STYLISH IMAGE WE FARMERS ARE FAMOUS
FOR.
IMAGINE MY SURPRISE TO DISCOVER THAT AG FASHION IS NOW MAINSTREAMED. I'M TALKING THE SNOTTY ABERCROMBIE CROWD. THE RAGE IS CALLED NORMCORE, AND IT'S BEST DESCRIBED AS THE BLAND LEADING THE BLAND. YES, MY FLANNEL SHIRTS AND SWEATSHIRTS ARE TOTALLY IN.  SO JUST IN TIME FOR EASTER, LET ME OFFER THREE WORDS OF CUTTING EDGE NORMCORE STYLE ADVICE: GREEN HUSH PUPPIES.

HEADLINES:

IT'S MORE THAN JUST ROW CROPS that FELT THE FREEZE IN the SOUTH THIS WEEK. A HARD FREEZE ALSO RAVAGED PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHERN FRUIT CROP. STATES LIKE CALIFORNIA RECEIVED GRIM NEWS EARLIER THIS YEAR ABOUT THEIR WATER OUTLOOK, BUT THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE WEST IS IN BETTER SHAPE. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WATER AND CLIMATE CENTER'S APRIL WATER FORECAST, AREAS SUCH AS IDAHO, MONTANA, WYOMING, NORTHERN COLORADO AND UTAH ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE NEAR NORMAL OR EVEN ABOVE NORMAL WATER SUPPLIES. THE CENTER ISSUED BELOW NORMAL FORECASTS FOR THE OTHER WESTERN STATES. THE DECISION STEMS FROM HOW MUCH MOISTURE THOSE AREAS RECEIVED OVER THE WINTER. AS THE PORK INDUSTRY SCRAMBLES TO FIND AN ANSWER TO A DEADLY PIG VIRUS, MORE REPORTING MAY BE REQUIRED IN THE FUTURE. THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SWINE VETERINARIANS TOLD REUTERS THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS CURRENTLY EXPLORING REPORTING OPTIONS FOR PEDV THIS WOULD HELP THE GOVERNMENT TRACK THE DISEASE THAT'S ALREADY BEEN CONIRMED IN 29 STATES. THE DISEASE WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED IN THE U-S APRIL OF 2013. BUT BECAUSE PRODUCERS AREN'T REQUIRED TO REPORT IT, THERE'S NO ACCURATE COUNT OF THE ANIMALS IMPACTED SO FAR.  RANCHERS WHO SUFFERED THROUGH SEVERAL TOUGH YEARS ARE FINALLY ELIBLE FOR SOME RELIEF. U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK THAT SIGNUPS FOR LIVESTOCK DISASTER ASSITANCE BEGAN TUESDAY.  THE LIVESTOCK INDEMNITY PROGRAM AND THE LIVESTOCK FORAGE DISASTER PROGRAM WILL PROVIDE PAYMENTS TO ELIGIBLE PRODUCERS FOR LIVESTOCK DEATHS AND GRAZING LOSSES THAT HAVE OCCURRED SINCE THESE PROGRAMS EXPIRED IN SEPTEMBER 2011.

NAVAJO LAND:

THERE'S A LAND BATTLE BREWING IN ARIZONA. STELLA PESHLAKAI  SMITH IS THE LAST HOLDOUT ON LANDS ONCE HOME TO HUNDREDS OF NAVAJO.  SMITH'S FAMILY WANTS LAWMAKERS TO GIVE THEM PERMANENT RIGHTS SO THEY CAN KEEP THEIR HOME AT WUPATKI  NATIONAL MONUMENT IN ARIZONA. WE HAVE DETAILS ON THE LAST STANDING FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

LEGACY:

SOME LEGACY STORIES GO BACK FOR GENERATIONS. OTHERS ARE TRANSPLANTED FOR A BETTER WAY OF LIFE. THAT'S THE CASE FOR ONE SHOW-ME FAMILY. IN THIS LEAVE A LEGACY REPORT, CLINTON GRIFFITHS INTRODUCES US THE ATTEMAS, WHO STARTED CULTIVATING DREAMS ON U-S SOIL IN THE 1970S, MILES AWAY FROM HOME.

TRACTOR TALES:

AL, THIS WEEK'S TRACTOR LOOKS LIKE A RARE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. YOU'RE RIGHT JOHN. THEY'RE CALLED OMC TRACTORS.

CHURCH SALUTE:

TODAY'S COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE GOES TO THE ST LOUIS BESANCON CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RURAL NEW HAVEN, INDIANA. FIRST FOUNDED BY FRENCH SETTLERS IN THE 1840S, THE ORIGINAL MASS WAS ACTUALLY HELD IN SOMEONE'S HOME. THE CHURCH STARTED OUT AS A FRAME STRUCTURE BUILT AROUND 1850.  TODAY, THE PARISH IS PLANNING AN EXPENSIVE RENOVATION. AND WHILE THE CHURCH'S LOOK MAY BE CHANGING, THE CONGREGATION STILL CONSISTS OF DECENDANTS OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. OUR THANKS TO LOIS EMENHISER FOR SHARING THEIR STORY.

MAILBAG:

TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG. THIS WEEK WE HAVE SOME ENERGETIC ADVICE FROM KERRY IN DECATUR, INDIANA REGARDING THEIR SOLAR ENERGY INVESTMENT. "AFTER PUSHING THE PENCIL, WE FELT IT MIGHT BE A WORTHWHILE PROJECT. JANUARY WAS COLD, BUT THE SUN DID SHINE AND PRODUCED 75% OF OUR ELECTRICAL USAGE!"  KERRY SENT US THIS PHOTO OF THEIR PHOTOVOLTAIC PANEL INSTALLATION. I BELIEVE THIS WILL BE A FAR MORE COMMON SIGHT ON FARMS ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY. THE BIG REASON IS PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS - WHICH CONVERT SUNLIGHT DIRECTLY TO ELECTRICITY - HAVE BEEN PLUMMETING IN PRICE. JUST LIKE WE SAW HAPPEN WITH COMPUTING POWER, PV COST HAS FALLEN ENOUGH TO COMPETE WITH OTHER ELECTRICITY SOURCES.  ONE BENCHMARK PRICE IS 10 CENTS PER KILOWATT HOUR, AND AS YOU CAN SEE, PV HAS ARRIVED, AND COULD SOON BE ONE OF THE CHEAPEST SOURCES. THAT SAID, PV POWER NEEDS BIG ADVANCEMENTS IN ENERGY STORAGE TO OVERCOME ITS INTERMITTENT NATURE. THE BEST ANSWER MAY BE PLUG-IN VEHICLES TO BRIDGE SUPPLY AND DEMAND GAPS. ELECTRIC CARS ARE ALSO PUSHING NEEDED STATIONARY BATTERY TECHNOLOGY. WHILE PV POWER IS A NO-BRAINER IN SUNNY, HOT AREAS LIKE THE SOUTHWEST, PLUMMETING EQUIPMENT PRICES ARE ENCOURAGING INSTALLATIONS IN PLACES LIKE A FRIEND'S FARM IN UPPER NEW YORK STATE, AND HERE IN INDIANA. UNLIKE THERMAL SOLAR POWER, I THINK PV SOLAR WILL SOON MATURE INTO A FEASIBLE AND POPULAR ALTERNATIVE TO FOSSIL ENERGY.

 

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