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USFR Weekly Recap - October 30-31, 2010

November 2, 2010

 

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE #1942
OCTOBER 30-31, 2010

JOHN’S OPEN:
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. JUST A FEW MORE DAYS, AND THE POLITICAL COMMERCIALS WILL BE OVER. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS A SUBJECT OF MUCH SPECULATION BUT ONE THING WE DO KNOW - ELECTIONS ARE NOW ONE OF OUR MOST VIBRANT ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES. THE SPENDING FOR THE 2010 ELECTIONS WILL TOTAL A RECORD FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. AND THAT'S FOR A MID-TERM, NON-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, REMEMBER. THE SOBERING IMPLICATION OF THIS SUM IS OUR POLITICAL PROCESS IS NOW A BUSINESS. WINNING ELECTIONS IS LESS ABOUT IDEAS AND MORE ABOUT DOLLARS. THE FACT PUBLIC POLICY-MAKING IS RAPIDLY BECOMING AN AUCTION MAY BE ALARMING TO SOME OF US, BUT THANKS TO OUR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM, THIS IS THE GOVERNMENT WE CHOOSE TO HAVE. TIME NOW FOR THE HEADLINES.....HERE'S AL PELL

GRAIN STOCKS: THANK YOU JOHN. THE INTERNATIONAL GRAINS COUNCIL REVISED ITS FORECAST OF GLOBAL GRAIN SUPPLIES. THE IGC SAYS WORLD CORN STOCKS WILL SHRINK TO THEIR LOWEST IN FOUR YEARS - FAR FASTER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT. THOSE PREDICTIONS ARE BASED ON THE DETERIORATING PROSPECTS FOR CROPS IN CHINA AND THE U.S. THE GRAINS COUNCIL LOWERED TOTAL GLOBAL CORN STOCKS BY SIX MILLION METRIC TONS TO 125 MILLION METRIC TONS.
LAST YEAR IT WAS 152. LAST MONTH, USDA LOWERED THE U.S. OLD CROP CARRYOVER BY 300-MILLION BUSHELS.

DISASTER ASSISTANCE: SIGN-UP FOR DISASTER AID BEGAN THIS WEEK FOR SOUTHERN FARMERS WHO SUSTAINED CROP LOSSES FROM EXCESSIVE MOISTURE LAST YEAR. THE AG DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THAT MORE THAN A HALF BILLION DOLLARS IN PAYMENTS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED. ELIGIBLE COMMODITIES INCLUDE ONLY RICE, UPLAND COTTON, SOYBEANS AND SWEET POTATOES. USDA SAYS THE PAYMENTS HELP PRODUCERS NOT COVERED BY "SURE", THE PERMANENT DISASTER AID PROGRAM. WE ASKED FSA ADMINISTRATOR JONATHAN COPPES WHY THE DISASTER AID WAS NOT BROADER TO INCLUDE DROUGHT-RELATED LOSSES. MANY SOUTHERN FARMERS SAY THE "SURE" PROGRAM IS MORE BENEFICIAL TO MIDWEST FARMERS.

CALIFORNIA DAIRY MONITORING: A GROUP OF CALIFORNIA DAIRY PRODUCERS ARE POOLING THEIR RESOURCES WHEN IT COMES TO CONTROLLING COSTS FOR GROUNDWATER MONITORING. IN 2007, THE ADOPTED NEW COMPREHENSISVE WATER QUALITY REGULATIONS FOR ALL THE DAIRIES IN THE CENTRAL VALLEY, WHICH GOES FROM BAKERSFIELD TO SACRAMENTO. THEY'RE REQUIRED TO INSTALL AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE GROUNDWATER MONITORING WELLS. THIS WEEK, A COALITION OF PRODUCERS ANNOUNCED THE FORMATION OF A NON-PROFIT GROUP TO SHARE THOSE COSTS. THE ORGANIZERS SAY THEIR PLAN CALLS FOR FEWER WELLS IN MORE STRATEGIC LOCATIONS, BUT STILL MEETING THE STATE REQUIREMENTS.

MARKETING RALLY: AS HARVEST WINDS DOWN ON MANY FARMS, WE HOPE YOU'LL CONSIDER JOINING US FOR MARKETING RALLY 2011 HAPPENING THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER JUST OUTSIDE CHICAGO. THIS SECOND ANNUAL EVENT WILL BRING TOGETHER SIXTEEN OF THE BEST MARKETING MINDS IN AGRICULTURE - INCLUDING MANY OF THE ANALYSTS YOU SEE RIGHT HERE ON U.S. FARM REPORT. I'LL BE THERE AS WELL, HOSTING ALONGSIDE PRO FARMER EDITOR CHIP FLORY. THE EVENT IS SET FOR DECEMBER 1ST AND 2ND AT THE PHEASANT RUN RESORT IN ST. CHARLES, ILLINOIS. FOR THE FULL AGENDA AND REGISTRATION DETAILS, HEAD ONLINE TO WWW.MARKETINGRALLY.COM

ROUND TABLE: BILL BIEDERMANN OF ALLENDALE INC., AND GREG WAGNER, INDEPENDENT COMMODITY ANALYST BASED IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA.

JOHN’S WORLD: I WAS AFRAID OF THIS. WITH THE ASTONISHINGLY EARLY START, WEEKS OF WARM, DRY WEATHER, AND A FRANTIC PACE GOADED BY MEMORIES OF 2009, MOST FARMERS ARE DONE WITH HARVEST, FINISHED WITH TILLAGE, CLEANED UP THEIR EQUIPMENT, APPLIED THE FERTILIZER, STORED THE MACHINES, AND ARE READY FOR WINTER. ONLY IT'S THE FIRST OF NOVEMBER. WHAT WE FORGOT IS THAT ALL THOSE JOBS HAD ONE BIG BENEFIT: AN UNASSAILABLE EXCUSE. SIGHING WEARILY AND REGRETFULLY REPLYING, "WE'RE STILL IN THE FIELDS" WAS THE ULTIMATE GET-OUT-OF-JAIL-FREE CARD FOR COMMITTEE MEETINGS, SCHOOL CONFERENCES, ANNUAL PHYSICALS, AND VISITS TO THE IN-LAWS. EVEN WHEN WE WEREN'T ACTUALLY HARVESTING WE WERE RESTING UP FROM GRUELING HOURS IN AIR-CONDITIONED CABS ON LEATHER POWER-ADJUSTIBLE SEATS IN SURROUND SOUND WITH AUTOSTEER. I'M NOT SURE IF OTHERS THINK WE ARE SCYTHING THE WHEAT AND SNAPPING CORN BY HAND, BUT THE HARVEST EXCUSE WORKS EVERY TIME. NOW, IN A CRUEL TWIST OF FATE, WE FIND OURSELVES DEFENSELESS - SPUTTERING TO INVENT A REASON WHY WE SHOULDN'T FULFILL FAMILY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES. POET THOMAS HOOD SAID IT BEST. "NO SUN - NO MOON! NO MORN - NO NOON - NO DAWN - NO DUSK - NO PROPER TIME OF DAY. NO WARMTH, NO CHEERFULNESS, NO HEALTHFUL EASE, NO COMFORTABLE FEEL IN ANY MEMBER -NO SHADE, NO SHINE, NO BUTTERFLIES, NO BEES, NO FRUITS, NO FLOWERS, NO LEAVES, NO BIRDS, NOVEMBER!" AND NOW WE CAN ADD "NO EXCUSES" TOO. LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.... SEND EMAILS TO INFO@USFARMREPORT.COM OR CALL AND LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL.

2ND HALF:
JOHN’S OPEN:
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. MAYBE IT'S JUST ME, BUT THE MOOD IN THE COUNTRY MAY JUST BE BOTTOMING OUT. THE POLITICAL SEASON HAS ALLOWED MORE THAN AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO VENT, INTEREST RATES FOR BORROWERS HAVE ALL BUT DISAPPEARED, AND CORPORATE PROFITS ARE SURPRISINGLY STRONG. I'M NOT SUGGESTING THE SKIES ARE ABOUT TO CLEAR, BUT IT COULD BE WE’RE ADJUSTING TO LIFE AS IT IS. WE OFTEN FORGET THE ABILITY OF OUR BRAINS TO RESET TO REALITY. PERHAPS THE MOST HOPEFUL SIGN IS A WEARINESS WITH RANCOR. WE NOW INSTINCTIVELY AVOID SENSITIVE TOPICS AND WE REALLY APPRECIATE PEACEFUL MOMENTS. PEACE - THERE'S AN IDEA. LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE HEADLINES AND AL PELL....

PAYING FOR LOCAL FOOD: THANK YOU JOHN. A STUDY DONE AT PENN STATE UNIVERISTY SHOWS RESTAURANT PATRONS WERE WILLING TO PAY SLIGHTLY MORE FOR MEALS MADE WITH LOCAL FOODS. THE EXPERIMENT WAS FAIRLY SIMPLE. A CAMPUS RESTAURANT STARTED BY CHARGING FIVE-AND-A-HALF DOLLARS FOR BOTH LOCAL AND NON-LOCAL MEALS. THE MEALS WERE SIMILAR. WHEN LOCAL FOOD WAS BUMPED UP A DOLLAR TO $6.50--A HIGHER PROPORTION OF PATRONS CHOSE THE LOCAL FOOD INSPITE OF ITS HIGHER PRICE. BUT ONCE THE PRICE DIFFERENCE HIT TWO BUCKS, MORE PEOPLE ATE THE LESS-EXPENSIVE, NON-LOCAL, FOODS.

TRUCK EMISSIONS: COME 2014 NEW TRUCKS WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE LOWER EMISSIONS AND GET BETTER GAS MILEAGE. FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE EPA AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ARE REQUIRING HEAVY-DUTY PICKUPS, BIG RIGS AND BUSES, MEET NEW STRINGENT GUIDELINES. WORK TRUCKS, SCHOOL BUSES, LONGHAUL TRUCKS AND OTHERS WILL HAVE TO CUT FUEL CONSUMPTION AND EMISSIONS BY 10-20%. TO MEET THE NEW STANDARDS--WHICH START IN 2014--COMPANIES WILL USE NEW TECHNOLOGY, SUCH AS IMPROVED AERODYNAMICS, TIRE ROLLING RESISTANCE, AND ENGINE AND TRANSIMISSION UPGRADES.

ULTIMATE FARM QUEST: LIKE MANY OF US, MICHIGAN FARMER LEON KNIRK IS IN THE HOME-STRETCH OF THIS YEARS HARVEST. AS ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE ULTIMATE FARM QUEST, HE'S USING THIS TIME TO LOOK AT YIELD MAPS TO SEE WHERE IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE MADE.  THROUGH-OUT THE GROWING SEASON, LEON MET WITH FARM JOURNAL'S MISSY BAUER TO GET AGRONOMIC ADVICE. ONE THING THEY MEASURED WAS THE NDVI, OR THE VEGETATION INDEX. THIS FALL, THEY DUG INTO THE SOIL TO SEE WHAT WAS CAUSING THE RED SPOTS ON THE MAP, MEANING REDUCED YIELD. LEON SAYS THE OUTCOMES FROM THAT TOOL WERE DEAD-ON.

HEARTLAND: WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TEXAS AGRICULTURE - CATTLE, COTTON, AND SORGHUM TYPICALLY TOP THE LIST...BUT THE INDUSTRY IS MUCH MORE DIVERSE THAN THAT. REGIONAL REPORTER ERICA GOSS TAKES US TO AN UN-CONVENTIONAL FARM OUTSIDE LUBBOCK WHERE BUSINESS IS "BLOOMIN". TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS OPERATION, HEAD ONLINE TO WWW.FOXLANDGROWERS.COM . WE'LL BE SURE TO POST A LINK ON OUR HOME PAGE FOR INSTANT ACCESS.

TAX POLICY: AS VOTERS GO TO THE POLLS THIS WEEK, TAX POLICIES AS ALWAYS LOOM LARGE. WHILE LAWMAKERS DEBATE WHETHER TO EXTEND ALL OR SOME OF THE 2001 INCOME TAX CUTS, THE AG AGENDA WILL FOCUS ON WHETHER TO EXTEND TAX CREDITS FOR BIOFUELS AND PROTECTING FARMS FROM THE RETURN OF THE ESTATE TAX IN 2011. REGIONAL REPORTER MICHELLE ROOK TAKES A LOOK AT THE FULL PLATE OF TAX ISSUES FACING CONGRESS THIS YEAR. THANKS MICHELLE. WHEN WE COME BACK, TRACTOR TALES AND OUR COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE...PLEASE STAY WITH US.

TRACTOR TALES: TRACTOR TALES THIS WEEK TAKES US TO NORTHERN INDIANA FOR A LOOK AT A MCCORMICK-DEERING THAT LOVES TO GET DIRTY.

CHURCH SALUTE: WE JOURNEY TO A REMARKABLY BEAUTIFUL PART OF AMERICA - THE LEELANAU PENINSULA IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN FOR OUR COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE. THE IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF SUTTON'S BAY WILL ARE CELEBRATING THEIR 120TH ANNIVERSARY THIS WEEKEND WITH A SPECIAL SERVICE LED BY BISHOP JOHN SHLIKER FOLLWED BY A NORWEGIAN POTLUCK DINNER. THE 185-FAMILY CONGREGATION HAS A LONG HISTORY OF LOCAL MINISTRY, INCLUDING A FOOD PANTRY, A BABY PANTRY, CHOIR AND YOUTH ACTIVITIES. THE PASTOR IS PAUL KUHLMAN AND THE INFORMATION WAS SUPPLIED BY VEL WHITTKER. OUR SECOND CHURCH IS TATES CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH NEAR RICHMOND, KENTUCKY. THEY MARKED THEIR 225TH YEAR OF SERVICE THIS AUGUST. FOUNDED IN 1785, THE ORIGINAL CHURCH STRUCTURE BURNED AND THE CONGREGATION RELOCATED TO THE PRESENT BUILDING, WHICH WAS COMPLETED IN 1851. OVER THE YEARS MANY IMPROVEMENTS WERE ADDED. THEY ARE LED BY DR. JERRY HUFFMAN. OUR THANKS TO DIANA ROSS FOR THE HISTORY AND PICTURE.  AS ALWAYS WE WANT TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR HOME CHURCH AS WELL... SALUTES CAN BE SENT TO THE ADDRESS ON THE SCREEN. STAY WITH US - THE MAILBAG IS NEXT.

MAILBAG: TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....ALAN ANDERSON IN SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA SUGGESTS WE LOOK FOR NEW SOURCES FOR RENEWABLE FUELS. "IN MY OPINION, THERE IS ONLY ONE CROP THAT COULD BE THE NUMBER ONE CROP GROWN HERE IN AMERICA IN A LARGE ENOUGH SCALE TO MEET WHAT MR. VILSACK ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY... THAT ONE CROP IS (ENERGY) SUGAR BEETS LIKE THOSE THAT WERE RESEARCHED UP IN ND AND IN PA."
ALAN, FRIENDS ON THE EAST COAST HAVE TOLD ME ABOUT THE SUGAR BEET RESEARCH BEING DONE THERE, AND AFTER YOUR EMAIL I LOOKED INTO IT MORE CLOSELY. AS YOU MENTIONED, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS TAKEN A STRONGLY SUPPORTIVE POSITION ON RENEWABLE FUELS - AND ONE CROP POSSIBILITY IS SUGAR BEETS. BEETS YIELD MORE ETHANOL PER ACRE AND CAN HAVE LOWER PRODUCTION COSTS. THEORETICALLY THEY CAN BE GROWN OVER A WIDE AREA AS WELL. BUT THERE ARE POWERFUL REASONS WHY BEETS MAY STRUGGLE FOR ACRES EVEN WITH AMPLE GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES. BEET PRODUCTION REQUIRES VERY SPECIFIC EXPERTISE, EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES, NONE OF WHICH EXIST OUTSIDE THE EXISTING BEET AREAS LIKE MINNESOTA AND NORTH DAKOTA. GETTING CORN FARMERS LIKE ME EXCITED ABOUT NEW EQUIPMENT AND PRODUCTION CHALLENGES WOULD BE HARD AT BEST. WHEN CORN IS $5 PLUS, WHY EVEN BOTHER?  GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES WOULD HAVE TO BE ENORMOUS AND LONG TERM. FINDING ACRES IS NO SMALL CHALLENGE. GROWING PUBLIC RESISTANCE TO MANDATES IS A THREAT AS WELL. THE DAYS OF SIMPLY LEGISLATING NEW AG INDUSTRIES MAY HAVE PASSED. AS ALWAYS, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU, SEND COMMENTS TO INFO@USFARMREPORT.COM OR LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL AT 800-792-4329.

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