USFR Weekly Recap - March 8-9, 2014

March 8, 2014 02:30 AM
 

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THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT

EPISODE # 2117

MARCH 8-9, 2014   

 

 

As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to mailbag@usfarmreport.com or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. FARMERS, LIKE MILLIONS OF OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD, ARE PORING OVER GOOGLE MAPS TRYING TO FIND UKRAINE. OR AS THOSE OF US OF A CERTAIN AGE MISLABEL IT - THE UKRAINE. THIS UP AND COMING CORN AND WHEAT COMPETITOR IS NOW AN AG QUESTION MARK, AS POLITICS ROILS THEIR CURRENCY AND CLOUDS THEIR FUTURE. MEANWHILE, A SURPRISINGLY STRONG SURGE IN GRAIN PRICES HAS FARMERS FLUMMOXED AS WELL. WE'LL LET OUR EXPERTS WEIGHT IN LATER, BUT I SURE DIDN'T SEE THIS STEADY CLIMB COMING. COME TO THINK OF IT, IT'S HARD TO FIND MANY PREDICTIONS THAT HAVE COME TRUE FOR 2014 - AND IT'S ONLY MARCH. WHATEVER ELSE THIS YEAR MAY BE, BORING WON'T BE ONE DESCRIPTION.

HEADLINES:

FOR FARMERS ALONG THE MISSOURI RIVER IN THE WESTERN CORN BELT, 2011 IS A YEAR THEY'LL NEVER FORGET. THAT'S WHEN FLOODING CAUSED SEVERE SCARS AND DAMAGE TO THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF FARMLAND.  AND NOW, THE ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS IS BEING SUED OVER IT. FIVE STATES HAVE HAVE JOINED MISSOURI IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST CALIFORNIA'S EGG PRODUCTION STANDARDS. CALIFORNIA PASSED A MEASURE IN 2010 WHICH REQUIRES ALL EGGS IMPORTED INTO THE STATE MEET THE SAME LARGER CAGE SIZE STANDARDS ALREADY IMPLEMENTED IN CALIFORNIA. MISSOURI FIRST FILED A COMPLAINT LAST MONTH. THIS WEEK ALABAMA, IOWA, KENTUCKY, NEBRASKA AND OKLAHOMA SIGNED-ON. GOVERNORS IN THOSE STATES SAY CALIFORNIA SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO FORCE THEIR STANDARDS ON OTHER STATES, CHINA CONTINUES TO REJECT SYNTENTA'S AGRISURE VIPTERA AND DURACADE CORN TRAITS BECAUSE NEITHER ARE APPROVED FOR USE IN THE COUNTRY. NOW, BUNGE, CARGILL AND ADM HAVE ALL SAID THEY WON'T ACCEPT ANY CORN CONTAINING THE UNAPPROVED TRAITS, AS IT COULD HINDER TRADE. THIS WEEK, CHINA'S VICE AGRICULTURE MINISTER NIU DUN TOLD RUETERS APPROVAL FOR AGRISURE VIPTERA TRAIT COULD HAPPEN BY EARLY SUMMER.  SYNGENTA TOLD US LAST WEEK THEY'VE BEEN WAITING FOUR YEARS FOR CHINA'S APPROVAL, BUT THE PROCESS IS SIMPLY TAKING TOO LONG. TAX SEASON IS UPON US, AND WITH SEVERAL YEARS OF HIGH SECTION 179 LEVELS, REPORTING CAN GET A BIT TRICKY.  FARM CPA PAUL NEIFFER TOLD US THERE IS CURRENTLY A DISCREPANCY OVER ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME LIMITS. AS THE ROCKY POLITICAL SITUATION CONTINUES IN UKRAINE, IT COULD HAVE BOTH SHORT AND LONG-TERM IMPACTS ON GRAIN TRADE IN THE AREA. THAT COUNTRY IS THE THIRD LARGEST EXPORTER OF CORN, AND RANKS SIXTH IN WHEAT. THE U-S GRAINS COUNCIL SAYS PORTS AND VESSELS ARE LOADING GRAIN IN THE AREA, BUT IT'S BECOMING MORE DIFFICULT. THAT'S BECAUSE FARMERS ARE HOLDING ONTO GRAIN TO HEDGE AGAINST A CURRENCY DROPPING IN VALUE. AND WHILE FARMERS IN UKRAINE HAVE ALREADY PLANTED WINTER WHEAT AND BARLEY, CORN PLANTING SHOULD START IN THE NEXT 45 DAYS.  AND AVAILABLE CREDIT FOR FARMERS TO PURCHASE SEED IS STILL IN QUESTION.

CROP WATCH:

CROP WATCH THIS WEEK COVERS THE START OF TWO DIFFERENT SEASONS.

ROUNDTABLE:

TYNE TAKES OVER TO TALK MARKETS WITH TOMMY GRISAFI AND CHIP NELLINGER.

JOHN’S WORLD:

THERE WAS A RESEARCH PAPER PUBLISHED IN THE JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS THAT I THINK CARRIES A POWERFUL MESSAGE FOR FARMERS. THE STUDY CONCERNED HOW TO COMMUNICATE THE FACTS ABOUT THE MYTHICAL LINKAGE BETWEEN VACCINATIONS AND AUTISM. STARTING FROM ONE FRAUDULENT, SMALL SCALE PAPER IN THE LATE 90'S THE LINK BETWEEN CHILDHOOD VACCINATION AND AUTISM HAS BEEN INVENTED AND KEPT ALIVE BY CELEBRITIES AND WORRIED PARENTS. IN FACT, THE RESURGENCE OF ONCE RARE DISEASES LIKE MEASLES AND WHOOPING COUGH IS A SERIOUS CONCERN FOR THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL. TO COUNTER THE ERRONEOUS RUMORS, THE STUDY DEVELOPED FOUR DIFFERENT MESSAGES AND COMMUNICATIONS PLANS, FROM DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE DANGERS OF NOT VACCINATING, TO GRAPHIC IMAGES OF CHILDREN WITH THE DISEASES, TO A NARRATIVE ABOUT HOW ONE SMALL CHILD NEARLY DIED FROM MEASLES. A CAREFULLY CONTROLLED AND RANDOMIZED STUDY MEASURED THE IMPACT ON PEOPLE WHO RECEIVED THE INFORMATION. THE RESULT WAS STAGGERING. NOT ONLY DID NONE OF THE METHODS CHANGE ATTITUDES ABOUT VACCINATION, IN MANY CASES ANTI-VACCINATION POSITIONS WERE ACTUALLY INTENSIFIED. LITERALLY NOTHING SEEMED TO WORK TO ALTER OPINIONS. I THINK THIS SAME DYNAMIC MAY BE AT WORK IN THE GMO DISPUTE. SCIENCE AND FACTS ARE NO LONGER THE LAST WORD ON HOW WE DECIDE. NOT DO I THINK WE HAVE FOUND A MESSAGE TO COUNTER GROWING GMO DIAPPROVAL. IT DOESN'T MATTER WE'RE RIGHT. OUR INDUSTRY NEED TO THINK ABOUT PLAN B.

2ND HALF

JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. I KNOW IT'S GETTING DEPRESSING STARING OUT THE WINDOW AT SNOWBANKS AND FRIGID TEMPERATURES, BUT DON'T FORGET IT'S METEOROLOGICAL SPRING. AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT UNDERNEATH ALL THE ICE AND SNOW, WAITING TO BURST INTO FULL GLORIOUS BLOOM ARE MILLIONS OF ...POTHOLES. FOLKS, I CAN FEEL THEM GROWING ALREADY ON INTERSTATES AND FARM LANES. AFTER IMMENSE PRECIPITATION AND BRUTAL TEMPERATURE CYCLES, NEITHER ASPHALT NOR CONCRETE CAN WITHSTAND SIMPLE PHYSICS. I'M PREDICTING A BUMPER CROP OF VEHICLE-BRUISING ROAD HAZARDS. MEANWHILE, IN RELATED NEWS, ROAD MAINTENANCE FUNDS ARE SHRINKING DUE TO LOWER FUEL TAX RECEIPTS.
TYNE MORGAN HAS THE HEADLINES.

HEADLINES:

THANKS, JOHN. THERE'S SOME GOOD NEWS FOR DROUGHT-STRICKEN CALIFORNIA AND THE SOUTHWEST. HOWEVER RELIEF MAY NOT ARRIVE UNTIL SUMMER. AS COMMODITY PRICES HAVE TRENDED HIGHER, SO HAS THE VALUE OF LAND. OUR PARTNERS AT LANDOWNER NEWSLETTER AND PROFARMER SAY PRICES HAVE SOFTENED BY ABOUT 15 TO 20 PERCENT ALREADY THIS YEAR.  BUT RECENTLY, WE'VE SEEN PRICES HAVE A SLIGHT BOUNCE. MIKE WALSTEN SAYS LONGER-TERM, HE STILL SEES LAND PRIES EASING OFF THESE HIGH LEVELS OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS. AS THE U-S CONTINUES TO SEARCH FOR AN ANSWER TO PORCINE EPIDIMIC DIARRHEA VIRUS (OR P-E-D-V), THE U-S AND CANADIAN HOG AND PIG INVENTORIES ARE BOTH DOWN. THE DECEMBER INVENTORY FOR 2013 WAS 78 POINT 7 MILLION HEAD, DOWN FROM THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.  THAT'S PUSHING LEAN HOG FUTURES HIGHER, NOW UP BY A THIRD THIS YEAR ALONE. ACCORDING TO DATA FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS CONSUMERS PAID $3.73 ON AVERAGE FOR PORK CHOPS IN DECEMBER. THAT'S THE MOST SINCE AT LEAST 1998. ARLAN SUDERMAN OF WATERSTREET SOLUTIONS SAYS RIGHT NOW TIGHT SUPPLIES ARE BEING CUSHIONED BY STORED SUPPLIES.

WHETHER IT'S THE TASTE OR THE SMELL, IT SEEMS LIKE PEOPLE JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH BACON. WELL, NOW YOU CAN WAKE UP TO THAT AROMA, WITHOUT EVEN COOKING IT. THE OSCAR MEYER INSTITUE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF BACON HAS CREATED AN APP WHERE THE ALARM CLOCK WAKES YOU UP TO THE SMELL OF BACON. THE APP IS ONLY DESIGNED FOR IPHONES.  THE TRICKY PART OF THIS IS OBTAINING THE HARDWARE TO MAKE THE APP WORK, BECAUSE ONLY LIMITED QUANTITIES ARE AVAILABLE.

SUN SPOTS:

IT'S BEEN A LONG WINTER FOR MANY FOLKS. BUT HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS - SPRING IS JUST A COUPLE WEEKS AWAY! BUT COULD THIS SORT OF WINTER SIGNAL A MORE LONG-TERM PATTERN? SOME THINK THAT DEPENDS ON SUN-SPOTS. I TALKED WITH AN ASTROPHYSICIST FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME WHO EXPLAINS THE SCIENCE OF SUNSPOTS.

HOG FARM:

THE SMELL OF BACON FRYING OR HAM FRESH FROM THE OVEN ARE SOME WONDERFUL SMELLS FROM COOKING THAT WHITE MEAT.  HOWEVER, THE ODOR FROM PORK PRODUCTION CAN BE LESS PLEASANT.  KENT FADDIS WITH UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI INTRODUCES US TO A TEAM OF M-U RESEARCHERS WHO ARE FINDING WAYS TO REDUCE THAT SMELL.

TRACTOR TALES:

WE HAVE A CORRECTION TO MAKE FROM OUR TRACTOR SEGMENT FROM LAST WEEK. THE CLUB IS HAVING THEIR ANNUAL PARADE NEXT MONTH ON APRIL 12TH. YOU CAN CONTACT THE CLUB PRESIDENT WITH ANY QUESTIONS. ON TO THIS WEEK'S TRACTOR AND I'M PROUD TO SAY, A REAL WORKHORSE FOR THE NAVY.

CHURCH SALUTE:

OUR FIRST COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE GOES TO THE CONCORDIA EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN GENESEO, ILLINOIS. FIRST ORGANIZED IN 1864 BY GERMAN SETTLERS. THE ORIGNAL BUILDING ONLY COST 13 HUNDRED DOLLARS TO CONSTRUCT.THE CONGREGATION VOTED TO BUILD A NEW CHURCH IN 1877. THEN, IN ORDER TO KEEP UP WITH THE EXTENSIVE GROWTH, THE CONGREGATION DECIDED TO BUILD A NEW CHURCH IN 1954. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CHURCH FOR CELEBRATING 150 YEARS THIS PAST SUMMER. AND OUR THANKS TO KATHRYN NELSON FOR SHARING THEIR STORY.

MAILBAG:

TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG. THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT HAS MANY OF US TAKING NOTICE OF HOW CONCENTRATED OUR DOMESTIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IS: "THE MOVE TO LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD MAKES SENSE. IT IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, CONSUMERS AND GIVES NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO YOUNG PRODUCERS."  THAT'S FROM DENNY VERHOFF. I TOO WAS STUNNED BY HOW MUCH PRODUCE ORIGINATES IN CALIFORNIA. THIS GRAPHIC FROM THE MAGAZINE MOTHER JONES USES USDA NUMBERS TO SHOW WHERE FOOD COMES FROM. THESE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES, LOOK AT TOMATOES: OVER 90 PERCENT COME FROM CALIFORNIA AND MOST OF THOSE FROM A HALF DOZEN COUNTIES. IT''S EVEN WORSE FOR BROCCOLI AND ESPECIALLY NOTABLE FOR TREE NUTS LIKE WALNUTS. THIS ARRANGMENT HAS BEEN VERY GOOD FOR AMERICAN CONSUMERS. THE SCALE AND SKILL OF CALIFORNIA GROWERS MAKES THEM NEARLY UNBEATABLE COMPETITION FOR PRODUCE ACRES. AND BIG FOOD RETAILERS AND FOOD SERVICE COMPANIES LIKE MACDONALDS WANT UNIFORMITY AND EASE OF SOURCING. THE MAJOR FLAW IN THE BUSINESS PLAN IS ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE ON A MASSIVE AND REGULAR SUPPLY OF WATER. AN ACRE OF ALMONDS REQUIRES 4 FEET OF WATER PER YEAR. WHICH BRINGS UP ANOTHER ISSUE. TREE NUTS ARE THE MOST LUCRATIVE CROP, BUT USE ABOUT TWICE AS MUCH WATER AS VEGETABLES SO WATER DEMAND HAS SKYROCKETED JUST AS A 500-YEAR DROUGHT BEGAN.  WE WILL BE COVERING THIS ONGOING DISASTER, BUT CLEARLY THE CALIFORNIA PRODUCE INDUSTRY IS FACING ITS GREATEST CHALLENGE.

 

 

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