IOWA LAND VALUES:
Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. As farmland values reach new highs, concern about the estate tax is heightened by farmers and lawmakers alike. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley - who is also a farmer - says these new land prices further illustrate the need to resolve the estate tax issue. It's caught-up in the fiscal cliff matters. If those breaks revert to old levels, farmers could suffer.
New numbers released by the Senate Republican policy committee show more than 526 thousand family farms are threatened if the estate tax exemption level drops from 5 million dollars to 1 million. The committee says many farm families may be forced to sell some assets and it could be as drastic as selling the family farm, which in turn, hurts rural communities.Farm CPA Paul Neiffer says he's already seeing this, but there are important steps that can be taken to prevent such a large loss.
In Tuesday’s supply-demand report, USDA decreased the size of this year’s cotton crop by 1%. The AG department is projecting 17.3 million bales. While down from last month, it's up 11% from last year. Yield is also up slightly.
CANADA CORN THEFT:
There's no doubt how valuable corn is in a drought year. And it looks like farmer's aren't the only ones who know it. According to CBC television in Canada, crooks made-off with 400 tons of corn, stolen directly from the Quebec farmer's bin. The bins were located on property without a House but, there was a security camera. The thieves however turned the camera skyward. And its estimated they used at least a dozen grain trucks to grab the grain. The farmer estimates he lost 140-thousand dollars.
The dry conditions are helping for late season field work. But in the upper Midwest, they have a nice blanket of snow.
Beef exports to Canada grew to its highest levels in about 18 months. The U.S. meat export federation released its assessment of monthly export data.
And House AG committee chairman Frank Lucas says they need to be doing more to help livestock owners. He says its now year two without a livestock disaster assistance program--a program from the 2008 farm bill that was only funded for the first four years. He says his home in western Oklahoma is witnessing massive cow depopulation. Lucas says he's seen estimates that roughly one million momma cows in the south or southwest United States have gone to the packing plant or somewhere else.
Up next I chat with the head of Informa Economics about impacts of having good weather in 2013.
LSU LITERACY PROGRAM:
Do you have internet access in your remote corner of the world? Despite efforts to get high speed internet into rural communities, they still lag behind. That means farmers are missing out on those "quick" opportunities to market their grain. The problem may even worse for school kids who miss learning opportunities. In this report provided by the LSU Agcenter, Tobie Blanchard tells us about a mobile technology lab that's helping kids in the country. In the last AG census in 2011, USDA said a total of 62% of U.S. Farms had internet access.
FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY:
In food and your family, we ask if you know what's yogurt and what isn't. That was question before a federal judge in Minnesota this week. He says its not for him but the FDA to decide. Like many of you, Michigan dairy farmers are getting into the holiday spirit. And also like you, they're singing Christmas jingles. The United Dairy Industry of Michigan took some liberties with the "Twelve Days of Christmas". Various dairy farm families performed for the camera and uploaded their work on YouTube.