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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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

A Question and Even More Comments...

Sep 09, 2009
***Below are comments following the September 5-6, 2009 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

I am wondering if the USDA's reporting service has ever been discussed on your site?  This year the USDA has forecast record corn, wheat and soybean yields and the prices for these grains have crashed on the CBOT and in the local markets. I have farmed for 37 years and I understand that grain markets go up and down, but the problem I have with these USDA reports is that they are not based on actual numbers, but rather estimates.
   The FSA branch of the USDA has the certified planted acres on its computer system and the day after certification ends they would have a total on the planted acres.  My question is this.  Why doesn't the USDA use these actual numbers until after harvest is over?
   I would never want to be forced to sell my grain on an estimate. I want to get paid the true weight I have on my truck as it goes across the scale, but yet us farmers are supposed to except a market price based off these USDA reports that are nothing more then fake numbers pulled out of the air.
   Since June 30th when USDA released it first really questionable planted acres and projected yields reports the price of corn has dropped $1.45 a bushel. If you take that times the USDA’s projected bushels and the 2008 carryover corn and that is a lose of income to the American farmer of over 21 billion dollars. I would like to see the USDA reporting system to be more accountable for their reports. It is very important that these reports are accurate because the traders use them to set the prices of grain and livestock.  I know the USDA will have a list of excuses a mile long about why they use the methodology that they use , but there needs to be some changes made.

  Enjoy so much your comments. Always felt you presented a very unbiased look at issues. Farming appears to be the last industry in America where the world markets are also trying to intercede with lower prices. Americans appear to gravitate to the lowest price even with risk. Not sure I understand that. Americans don’t mind spending billions to bale our GM and Chrysler, but when you pull up to a red light 3 of the 4 autos are Japanese rather than American. If we are not willing to buy American why would we bale them out?
   My question is why or how is it our ground beef today when cooked emits water as well as a little oil, but mostly water. Is this water an injection process from American processors or imports? How can we avoid this? Why isn’t it required to be posted on the package. Shrimp is just as bad. I understand it provides added weight and therefore a higher price, but there has to be a cost to the water injection, I would not like to pay for. Or is this all my imagination?
Dean C. Hill
Tallahassee Florida

     I am one of what I imagine to be a multitude of viewers who seldom actually set foot on a working farm.  I do, however, make a point of getting up early on Sunday to watch the U.S. Farm Report.  Let me explain my behavior.
    I hold a MS in Economics from Ohio University and have spent years teaching basic Economics to incoming Freshmen at Columbus State Community College.  Shortly after a bout of insomnia had driven me to watch your show during the 1990’s I found myself frequently referring to stories I had heard on your program during my attempts at teaching a class.  Featured in these stories were tales of initiative, clever use of resources, and adaptation to market forces by seemingly ordinary people.   Rice farmers in California using ducks to prepare their field for spring planting, and dairy farmers running nearly pollution-free milk operations are examples.
    I am sure you must archive these stories as I have seen a few repeated.  I would like to suggest that it would be a splendid idea to collect some theme based stories from your archive, put them on CD disks, and make them available to schools for use in classes.  I know jaded college freshmen enjoy clearly presented agricultural examples of complex theory and I would expect that they would be equally well received even at the elementary level.
    I sometimes refer to my job as “explaining the obvious to the ignorant”.  A large portion of my own ignorance involves agriculture, but I can assure you that your program frequently shines a light into the dark corners of that ignorance.
Joe Mullin
Gahanna, Ohio

   Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that the low prices for grain is due ,in part, to over production. 
Dennis Tucker
   Good Morning!  My husband was watching your program this morning and he said you mentioned some kind of program where if you were a landowner, you could receive tax breaks or compensation of some kind for holding part of your land as a nature preserve or game reserve.  We just bought a house with 4.2 acres.  2.2 acres of that is woods and we would like to check out this program.  Could you please send me the link.  I couldn't find it on your website. Thank you and have a wonderful day!!!
Cynthia Rutherford
***Editor's Note:  A good place to start is the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program from the Natural Resources Conservation Service...
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COMMENTS (3 Comments)

Usually when the government has to bail the auto makers out is because they arent selling enough cars. Now if this was grains we would just say price is tooo high to sell. I feel it is no different with vehicles. The cash for clunkers is a fine example, once you take some 7-8 thousand dollars off the price tag all of a sudden you sell some its that simple. Car makers in this country I feel are on a dead end road unless they can some how lower prices.
9:59 AM Sep 11th
Perhaps one of the people that work for them.
2:45 PM Sep 9th
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