Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. This continues to be one of the weirdest harvests I have ever known. The latest wrinkle is prompted by something I alluded to last week - the strong aversion of farmers, especially in the hardest hit drought areas, to store the 2012 corn crop. Molds like aflatoxin have us all holding our breath as samples are taken each truckload, and the thought of it festering in our bins is not appealing. So even with half-sized yields, we are waiting for hours at elevators to hand off this dubious crop. To see the lines, you'd think we were in the middle of huge production year. Instead you are seeing the 2012 stampede to the exit.
For farmers hoping to re-charge their dry soil, it appears it won't happen this fall for much of the nation. As one crop reporter told the Iowa "NASS' office - 'this is the earliest harvest I have observed in my career." 22% of Iowa’s corn has been harvested. That compares to just 2% in the five year average. In Illinois, over a third is shelled. Usually, it's just in the teens. Nationally 26% of the crop had been harvested. There's an early start to soybeans as well. The USDA says 10% is now cut - six points ahead of average. Minnesota and the Dakota’s are both well ahead. USDA has decided to shift the time when several of the major grain reports will be released. Starting at the first of the year, "NASS" will begin issuing the reports at noon eastern time instead of the current 8:30. USDA decided to look at the release time after several of the grain exchanges switched to 21 hour trading days. Livestock reports will remain at their 3 o'clock slot. Some AG groups are worried a trade spat over auto parts with China could lead to problems for soybean growers. This week the White House announced plans to file a trade dispute with the World Trade organization. The Obama administration alleges China has been unfairly subsidizing automobile and auto parts exports.
It's a "3M" visit this week in cropwatch...
Al sits down with Andy Shissler and Bill Biedermann for this week's market wrap.
In a year where farmers rose up in anger over regulations such as the imaginary farm dust rule and modest efforts to make under-age employees on farm safer, I cannot help but notice the lack of interest in a new rule that might have real effect. Proposition 37 is the latest in the notorious series of voter initiatives in California that often end up affecting the entire nation. Prop 37 is basically a mandatory labeling law for genetically engineered products. While it has been opposed vigorously by GE product makers like Monsanto and DuPont, current polling data suggests it could pass handily. The irony here is while farmers are all too quick to rail at the EPA or labor department, they are somewhat flummoxed by threats originating from the public itself. Our political armament is all trained on Washington, not other citizens. It is the seemingly simplicity of the proposal - not an outright ban, just labeling - that is hard to combat. It flows along with the expectation of greater transparency that, for better or worse, is challenge for all business.
Farmers are well-practiced in railing against government regulations. But as we have seen too often it is consumer sentiment that will reshape AG production. From farrowing crates to LFTB, customers are writing our regs. So it is with prop 37. The effects of the passage are hard to predict. Next week I’ll offer some reasons why it may be less catastrophic than opponents warn.
JOHN’S 2ND OPEN:
Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. It was a sobering week for the AG lobby in Washington. Despite weeks of serious doubt about passage of new Farm Bill, I think many of us have been so accustomed to last-minute heroics that the idea of not having a farm bill never really entered our mind. As of our taping, that is the case. The failure to even get a bill to the floor of the house may indicate that the old days of a few farm state legislators huddling quietly to write the mammoth bill are over. With this development, the hurdles only get higher. Virtually every major program - from crop insurance to snap - will be under more budget pressure. I think this time truly is different.
After weeks of wrangling and uncertainty, the short-term future of the 2012 Farm Bill is now known. House Speaker told reporters on Thursday that Congress will not be voting on the multi-year Farm Bill until after the November election. USDA implemented new school lunch guidelines this year, capping how many calories children should get on lunch programs. But two republican lawmakers say the policy is now leaving some kids looking for more food. In other food news - it appears Americans of all ages are getting too much sodium. New research in the October issue of "pediatrics" says kids and teens are eating just as much as adults. The study looked at the intake and weight of more than six thousand U.S. children and teens. Results show boys consume more sodium than girls...in addition; those children with higher intakes have a higher risk for high blood pressure. If your high school senior is looking for an education in AG-related engineering, they may need to focus on the Midwest.
SPIRIT OF THE HEARTLAND:
With a membership of 75 students, nearly half of the entire high school in Ridgemont, Ohio are members of FFA. The chapter is stepping up to meet two growing challenges in its community - - obesity and hunger. Their efforts are part of a new program called "FFA-Food for All". With support from 'Farmers Feeding the World' and the Howard G. Buffet foundation, the National FFA organization has provided 140 grants to FFA chapters nationwide. National Reporter Tyne Morgan introduces us to one chapter that's doing its part in providing food for all. Being secluded in a valley creates challenges and unique opportunities for the residents of Salmon, Idaho. We'll show you how the local FFA chapter is using local resources to reap the fruits of their labor, even when a major wildfire burns in their way. That's next weekend on U.S. Farm Report.
When it comes to picking the right animals for their operation, ranchers are a picky bunch. As Baxter Black sees it, most are lucky their wives weren't so selective.
Al what do you have for us this weekend...John, it's a real classic from international harvester.
Today's country church salute goes to Bliss Community Church in Bliss, Idaho. Located in the rural southwest corner of the state, the church is celebrating 100 years of ministry. The church began in 1912, when a circuit preacher collected the first ten dollars to build a church. The town's population is about a hundred people. It's surrounded by farms and ranches. The weekly church attendance draws about 50. Church secretary Carol Herzinger says they are thankful the doors to the little white country church have remained open for 100 years. "Bliss" sounds like the perfect name...
Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report mailbag... Joe Yahl disagreed with my position on farm subsidies for a popular reason that i find confusing. As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to email@example.com or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.