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June 2010 Archive for U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

RSS By: U.S. Farm Report, US Farm Report

Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

Viewer Feedback

Jun 21, 2010
***The following comments were received following the June 18-19, 2010, edition of "U.S. Farm Report"

#1:
Hello U.S. Farm Report,
   Just curious why you never show stock prices or mention the ever-growing sugar beet market? With the turn from grain ethanol to a grain/sugar ethanol, I'd think you would be giving more reporting to that market.
   With the energy crisis of today, that crosses many issues such as energy independence, greenhouse gases, global warming, national security and a few others. America needs your help, farmers. I'm sure you all have heard by now that SUGAR is the most economical way to make biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel). It is fitting Brazil’s sugar mills turn out ethanol for fuel and liquor for drinking because Brazilians like to toast the success of their ethanol industry. Brazil long has been the world leader in production, thanks to policies dating back to the 1970s. While quadrupling its ethanol exports last year, Brazil even sent millions of gallons to the United States, where the industry has been heavily subsidized for decades to make it profitable. Why haven’t these forces joined together to make a real difference…corn supply is up and sugar supply is cheap… The farmers get their info from you. Inform them.
Alan Anderson
Sacramento, CA

#2:
   On June 19, John Phipps downplayed the vulnerability of US crops to genetic tampering, saying the terrorists are too incompetent to pose a threat.
   I don't think the facts are quite that reassuring, however. The Southern corn leaf blight episode of 1970 pointed out how narrow a genetic base US corn germplasm was built on. Take the time to read http://www2.nau.edu/~bio372-c/class/sex/cornbl.htm , a very readable history of the event. The seed corn industry adopted the Texas male sterile gene because it would save money by avoiding manual detasselling. They would likely adopt any other trait that promises increased profits for themselves or their customers, as they have with Roundup Ready technology. If an enterprising graduate student were to find a weakness in Roundup Ready genetics and add a gene to exploit that weakness to a common insect, he could create a widespread crop failure in both corn and soybeans.
   The shoe bomber and Captain Underpants may have been klutzes with explosives, but there are plenty of intelligent genetic engineers around the world, some of whom don't like us.
Lyle Stephens

***Editor's Note:  Below is the transcript of the Mailbag segment Lyle referred to in his email:
   TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....
WE HAD A CONCERN FROM JAMES ADAMS IN COLUMBUS, OHIO ABOUT BIO-TERRORISM:
   "A POTENTIAL TERRORIST COULD ENGINEER A SET OF GENES AFFECTING CORN OR WHEAT WHERE THE PROMOTER OR INHIBITOR AVOIDS ACTIVATION UNTIL EXPOSED TO A SECONDARY ACTIVATING FACTOR, THUS PERMITTING THE GENES TO SPREAD WIDELY WITHOUT ANY SIGNS OF ACTIVITY UNTIL A SECONDARY ACTIVATING AGENT IS INTRODUCED. SUCH AN ATTACK COULD CRIPPLE AMERICAN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION."
   JAMES, I SUPPOSE THAT COULD HAPPEN, BUT IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY. TO BEGIN WITH, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF THE NEEDED BIOTECHNOLOGICAL EXPERTISE AMONG TERRORIST GROUPS LIKE AL QAEDA.  IN FACT, A RECENT NEWS STORY MAKES A STRONG CASE FOR THE OPPOSITE.  MANY WOULD-BE SUICIDE BOMBERS DON'T MAKE IT OUT OF TRAINING CAMP, SINCE THE SENDOFF INCLUDES A STRONG MANLY HUG WHICH OFTEN SETS OFF THE EXPLOSIVES. AND LET'S NOT FORGET THE SHOW BOMBER AND CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS.
   MUCH OF THE BELIEF SYSTEM FOR TERRORISM IS ROOTED IN ANTI-SCIENTIFIC DOGMA AND RELIGIOUS FANATICISM - QUALITIES ANTITHETICAL TO SCIENTISTS. WHILE THE LEADERSHIP MAY POSESS POLITICAL CUNNING, THE TROOPS IN THE FIELD ARE UNSOPHISTICATED AND UNEDUCATED.  THIS IS WHY TERRORISTS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY RESORT TO CRUDE EXPLOSIVES.
   THE SAD TRUTH IS WE EXAGGERATE THE ABILITIES OF TERROR GROUPS, IMAGINING THEM TO BE EVIL SUPERMEN, WHEN ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE CONTRARY. 

Oil Spill Ideas

Jun 14, 2010
***Editor's Note:  The Farm Report Mailbag segment for June 12-13, 2010, focused on unique ideas and approaches to containing the massive oil spill in the Gulf. Below is the transcript of that segment, followed by viewer feedback...


Farm Report Mailbag:
      THIS WEEK HAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....
IF YOU HAVE A RETIRED BROTHER-IN-LAW WITH TOO MUCH TIME AND COMPUTER ON HIS HANDS, YOU PROBABLY HAVE SEEN ONE OF THE OIL SPILL SOLUTION VIDEOS NOW IN VIRAL CIRCULATION. ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR IS HOW EASILY HAY COULD SOP UP THE OIL. TO BE SURE, USING ORDINARY HAY TO ACCUMULATE OIL IN WATER WORKS. IN A SMALL PAN OF WATER. BUT THERE IS THE PROBLEM OF SCALING UP, AS ENGINEERS PUT IT. THE FIRST IS OUR INABILITY TO GRASP THE SIZE OF THE OIL SPILL ON THE SURFACE - AND REMEMBER, MUCH OF THE OIL HAS YET TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP. THIS PICTURE PULLED FROM GOOGLE MAPS DEMONSTRATES THE SIZE OF THE SPILL. THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WOULD SPREAD AND THEN GATHER AN AREA THE SIZE OF JUST YOUR FARM, FOR EXAMPLE. LET'S PRETEND THERE IS ENOUGH HAY. TRANSPORTATION WILL BE A HUGE ISSUE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS HAY IS PRETTY MUCH SPOKEN FOR BY OUR DAIRY, BEEF AND EQUINE INDUSTRIES. THE INEVITABLE RUN-UP IN PRICES COULD BE A DEATH BLOW TO THEM. THE HAY COST ALONE WOULD BE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS. FINALLY, ONE CRUDE ESTIMATE OF BOATS NEEDED CAME UP WITH ABOUT 250,000 SHRIMPERS, ABOUT 50 TIMES THE EXISTING FLEET. NOR ARE THESE BOATS DESIGNED FOR SCATTERING AND GATHERING OIL-DRENCHED HAY. BY THE WAY, I'LL POST ALL THIS INFO AND MORE ON OUR WEB SITE. AS MORE LARGE, COMPLEX PROBLEMS OCCUR, LIKE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OR THE BP SPILL, WE SEEM TO BE FORSAKING HARD MATH FOR WISHFUL SIMPLICITY. BUT ALWAYS CHOOSING THE EASY ANSWER IS HOW WE GOT HERE.


Viewer Response:
   200'x12' grain or silage bags can hold a thousand barrels of oil! Many farms up here in the north country store grain and silage in these giant bags, so why can't oil be bagged? Slip string on the bottom of the big bag can be released, letting any water out the bottom or rear of the bag! Small local fishing boats can pull these bags very easily, as I have seen a TV show that showed a small boat dragging a very large bag of fresh water to a dry country! So I know small boats can pull these bags! Add an oil skimmer and fishermen can catch oil for a living at $71 a barrel. One bag can hold many thousands of dollars worth of precious oil, so good business sense means they should not disburse oil or burn it off!
Sincerely yours,
Darrell Dammen
Massena, NY

Viewer Feedback

Jun 04, 2010
***The following comments were received following the May 29-30, 2010, edition of "U.S. Farm Report."

#1:
   John, as we watched your weekly broadcast we became disturbed at the report of animal abuse on the Ohio dairy farm. Obviously animal abuse of any kind should never be condoned and those caught need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What is equally disturbing are the activities of the organization, HSUS, Humane Society of the United States. Beware of their overall intentions, as they intend to destroy agriculture, the equine recreational industry and pet ownership. They are using the so-called green movement to kneecap our farmers.  
Sincerely,   
Darryl H. Leifheit (life-height)
KNIGHT SKYE FARM
American Saddlebreds
Friesians and Georgian Grandes 
Lexington, KY

#2:
   Some years we don't have enough hay to feed our livestock, but perhaps
this year we can put hay to use to help with the cleanup. I don't know
if this really works or not, but most anything is worth trying at this
point: http://www.wimp.com/solutionoil/
David Bright
Dixmont, ME

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