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November 2013 Archive for PFA Pioneer Blog

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

This is a private blog for Pioneer.

Still plenty of buyers in U.S. farmland market

Nov 27, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

November 27, 2013

Both the House and Senate are on their Thanksgiving break. The Senate returns Dec. 9. The House returns Dec. 2.

When the Senate returns, the list of possible action includes the Department of Defense authorization bill (S 1197), new sanctions on Iran, and US intelligence programs. Also up for possible consideration is a bill to raise the minimum wage and, possibly, a measure to address problems with Affordable Care Act implementation.

The Senate also is set to consider several of President Barack Obama's key nominees, including Janet Yellen to be chairman of the Federal Reserve System and Jeh Johnson to serve as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. Action on these and other nominees will be on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) recent move to change the Senate's filibuster rule and permit nominees to be approved by a simple majority.

Other possible items for the Senate include a plan to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and any conference agreements on the FY 2014 budget, the farm bill (HR 2642) rewrite, and the reauthorization of a water infrastructure bill (HR 3080).


Survey: Plenty of willing buyers of land, few sellers

Despite the sharp drop in grain and soybean prices and forecasts for tightening profit margins well past next year, a large portion of Pro Farmer Members say they will be in the market to buy farmland next year.

Our third annual online survey conducted mid-month found 49% of Members answering “yes” to the question, "Are you in the market to buy farmland within the next year?" That is down, but not sharply, from last year’s 55% and is just shy of the 50% mark reported in our 2011 survey.

On the flip side, only 6% say they will be in the market to sell farmland compared to 7.5% last year and 7% in 2011.

 



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

EPA proposes cut to corn-based ethanol mandate

Nov 15, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

November 8, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed cutting the Renewable Fuels Standard target to 15.21 billion gallons. This aligns with the proposed cuts of an EPA document leaked in October and it compares to the 2007 RFS proposed a target of 18.15 billion gallons and the 2013 standards requiring 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended in the U.S. fuel supply.

The agency did not propose specific volume for ethanol made from corn, but the proposed change in advance biofuels implies a reduction in the corn-based mandate to around 13 billion gallons, which is also near levels in the leaked document. This would be down from the 14.4 billion gallons spelled out in law and the 13.8 billion gallon level in place for 2013.

The proposal includes a variety of approaches relative to setting the 2014 standards and includes a number of production and consumption ranges relative to the individual categories of biofuel within the RFS program.

EPA is also seeking comment on petitions for this waiver of the RFS. EPA expects that a determination on the substance of the petitions will be issued at the same time that EPA issues a final rule establishing the 2014 RFS.

Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to a 60-day public comment period. Once this occurs, it can be found here.

To look at the official proposed rule, click here.

It's not easy to sum up the situation in less that 140 characters!

But, Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey did it. Following the EPA proposal, he tweeted, "Big Oil created E10 blend wall by stonewalling E15. EPA buys what they're selling."

Well said, Mr. Secretary.

 



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Dollar best house in bad neighborhood

Nov 08, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

November 8, 2013

Note: The following is from this week's issue of Pro Farmer newsletter and was written by Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory.


U.S. dollar may be the best house in a bad neighborhood

 

The U.S. dollar and Europe’s euro have been exchanging “leadership” in global currency trade for about five years. Financial scares here send the dollar’s value lower while lifting the euro’s value. Conversely, Europe’s financial issues quickly send the euro lower while supporting the value of the dollar.

The U.S. passed the baton to Europe during October’s government shutdown and financial stresses, but Europe passed it back to the U.S. last week when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced a cut to the benchmark refinancing rate to 0.25% (from 0.5%). Low inflation and fears of deflation in Europe were incentive for the unexpected interest rate cut. The interest rate cut dropped the value of the euro by more than 1% against the U.S. dollar.

Even with new lows in corn futures, the dollar’s decline helped limit harvest-season price pressure and helped November soybeans hold above $12.50. That’s because the dollar’s value helped make U.S. corn and soybeans even cheaper for importers, resulting in a solid string of strong export sales. Now with Europe’s economic concerns and an improved chart picture for the U.S. dollar index, dollar strength could make it difficult to lock in a harvest low.

 



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Did the Farm Bill Conference Committee Make Any Progress?

Nov 01, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

November 1, 2013

Note: The following is from this week's issue of Pro Farmer newsletter and was written by Pro Farmer associate editor Meghan Pedersen and Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer.


Farm bill linkage with budget package

Conferees noted the possibility that farm bill savings might be tapped in a larger budget deal worked out by budget negotiators, but farm bill conferees insisted they would decide the fate of the farm bill details. House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said the budget committee could count whatever savings the farm bill achieves — after the fact, but again noted that “you can’t have our money unless you take our policy.” Lucas said that he is now “comfortable” that the budget conference will not interfere with the farm bill process.

Conservation compliance tied with crop insurance

Another contentious issue is that several conferees, including Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), support linking conservation compliance to crop insurance, a development many House negotiators strongly oppose. She also called on lawmakers to save grasslands by enacting a national sod-buster provision that is in the Senate bill. Lucas said he is not in favor of more regulatory burdens.
 

Key lawmaker blasts some farm group lobbyists

Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) defended the House bill’s Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program that ties payments to planted acres up to base acres. Conaway said, “Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about planting distortions... We are this far in the farm bill process despite the groups who are recklessly obsessed with this issue. We have had to do all the heavy lifting in fighting off harmful policies against their farmers, like AGI [adusted gross income limits] and conservation compliance on crop insurance, while they have spent their time on other endeavors. They ought to know that no one at this table is talking about going back to pre-1996 when farmers had to plant for the farm bill. They also ought to know that the House and Senate Farm Bills both use planted acres while capping them at different levels. By now, they should also be aware that the approach used by the House is the same approach used under the current ACRE program.”

But Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the PLC target prices would be set so high they would “practically guarantee” farm profits, a conclusion not supported by university research cited by other farm bill conferees.

Conaway said it would change 0.1% of planted acreage. But Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, “Tying target prices to planted acres runs the risk of ruining decades of reform.” And Roberts said, “a modern farm bill should not create planting, marketing or international trade distortions... target prices should be decoupled... and the government should not set prices at a level that practically guarantees profit, instead of acting as a risk-management tool.”

What it takes to reach the farm bill endzone

Stabenow indicated some of the conferees may meet or otherwise stay in touch during the House recess, which will last until Nov. 12.

The key to any conclusion will be leadership and the willingness of stakeholders, including political leaders in both parties, to make decisions and give a little ground to get them.
 


 


 



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

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