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October 2011 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.

Viewers Speak Their Mind on Ethanol & Energy

Oct 31, 2011

***Editor's Note:  The following comments were received in response to the October 29-30, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

#1: Secretary Vilsack is a socialist utopian Obama lackey.  Corn should be grown for food and livestock feed, not for fuel.  It is a very inefficient use of a needed crop & its cropland and is not needed at all.  The fact that it has to be subsidized shows that consumers do not want it for fuel as it destroys engines & costs way more to produce than petroleum and natural gas. We have plenty of oil & gas in America, and growing corn for ethanol is the worst sort of pandering & is itself not necessary. Jason King

#2: Why stop with foreign energy. The more I study energy, the border that I don't want to cross is my property line. Day after day the cost to produce your own energy is going down. Combining energy efficiency with your own production can provide you with all the energy that you will need.  You can heat, cool and light your home, cook your food. You can power all your entertainment.  And with cars like the new Tesla S I could power my car too. 300 miles range, 0 tailpipe emissions and 0 foreign oil. If you are not ready today, you should be at least studying it. Heck, if you are a farmer with tons beans in the bin, you should be studying biodiesel. Digesters are another option.  And in the future creating hydrogen will be another option. We are getting closer and closer to energy independance with off the shelf components. 3 million people without power? 1 million in california?  Another good reason. And yes power storage is just as important. Mark Potochnik

#3:   John phipps' commentary on U.S. Farm Report was an ignorant rant about our current energy crisis in America.  John used durogatory adjectives such as xenophobic, jingoistic and the term pseudo-patriotism for those of us who are pushing for more American oil exploration and drillling, as well as encouraging carbon taxes that would push the price of fuel even higher. I have an adjective or two to describe his commentary--idiotic and foolish. Perhaps John would be happier if in his world, as his commentary is entitied, the diesel used in the farm equipment and trucks that get food to the end-user was $6 a gallon. What John's World needs in it is a good dose of common sense and a bit of rationality.   Jason Goolesby

#4:  John, please make a run for office - preferably President.  Each week you make common sense statements - many of them contrary to viewpoints that might be held by many of your viewers.  We badly need you in Washington.  
Gary Vanderwerf
Windom, MN

#5:  In watching the stock market on a roller coaster ride, it's clear that the American investor couldn't get along without China at every turn.  Whether it's commodities, vehicles, energy, utilities, etc., everything come back to China, India, Japan, South America, Russia and the European Union for investing.  But where is the interest in investing in the United States of America???? At this rate, America could in time become a third world country!!!  My thoughts for today.  Wayne Doering

#6:  I understand the political views expressed tend towards the conservative but I watch your program for the FARM information.  I'd appreciate it if your biases would at least reflect something about farming and not fill the entire screen with some commercial radio quote about purposely enraging a huge, general group of people who may be watching thinking all the information and opinions will be about farms. Interesting that that was wedged between a farm to school table and a commentary about fast food obesity.  It makes me wonder if a producer was inserting his opinion of that. Thanks. Karen Stinnett in rural Virginia

A "Disgusted" Viewer

Oct 24, 2011

***The following viewer comments were received in response to the October 22-23, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

#1: I have a question for you. I have to tell you I am pretty disgusted with the US growers. They say buy american, yah right. Then you tell my why the growers are exporting all our hay while we cant find any in the US to feed our own stock. What we do find is either to nasty to feed or so expensive you cant afford to feed it. When are we gonna start taking care of our own country first and than worry about everyone else. Or is it just flat greed? Just had to vent.  
Karen Collins

#2: Even though I’ve never been a farmer (have baled hay summers 50 + years ago), I watch your program every Sunday on CBS.   I want to compliment you on your balanced view on most topics - refreshing and I suspect courageous on your part - keep it up!

    Just saw a DVD called “Dive” - essentially about the waste in food delivery, but mentioning that about 50% of all the food produced is wasted.  The folks in the DVD are basically getting their food from dumpsters outside food stores - lots of it that is just being wasted - that could go to feeding people or at least feeding pigs, etc.   Wonder if you have seen it - and if so, would appreciate your comments on the problem and any solutions that you might see.
   If these folks are right, there is one hell of a lot of effort, resources and money going into feeding the garbage pits!    A shame, a real shame.
Again, keep up the good work -
Richard Fassino

A Viewer Speaks: Upset about Exports

Oct 18, 2011

Sunday morning, at the end of "U.S. Farm Report," you talked abut the importance of maintaining the infrastructure that allows us to get grain to ports for overseas shipment. While nobody would disagree with that editorial, I have the opinion that we are making a big mistake in shipping our production overseas mostly as grain.

In the late '40s and early '50s, there would be a line of trucks zigzagging through the parking lot of the administration building of Peoria Union Stock Yard waiting to unload cattle and hogs. That is, a considerable percentage of our production in central Illinois left the farm as live animals rather than as grain. Some of those animals were butchered a block or two away in Peoria and left the city as processed meat. Chicago was known as the hog butcherer of the world. Going back to the years through WWII, our farm of about a quarter section of bottomland and river bluff had chickens, a few milk cows, beef cows, hogs and sheep plus the work horses.

That this vertical integration has left the state is a huge mistake. It has never made any sense to me to be shipping our grain out of the area and shipping phosphorus and potash in to make up for the nutrients removed by the grain when we could still be feeding out livestock on the farm where the grain was raised.
Likewise, the risk to the farmer was spread by raising livestock instead of only corn and soybeans. Employment was year-round rather than a couple of months in the spring and a couple of months in the fall.
Sincerely yours,
David Snider
Minier, IL

Viewers Speak on Cheap Food, Subsidies and Transportation Woes

Oct 17, 2011

These viewer comments were received following the Oct. 15-16, 2011, edition of "U.S. Farm Report"

#1:  John - you recently disputed the claim that the USA had the cheapest food in the world. You objected to the yardstick of percent of income needed to feed a family, to determine cost of food. What unit of measure would you prefer? Also, could you enlighten us as to where in the world people feed themselves for less? And by what measure? When such a claim is made, I feel It's only reasonable to ask for specifics. Could you back up your statement? 

Ben James
Kenmare, N.D.
#2:  Are the prices the government pays prevented planting, disaster payments and federal crop insurance set in October? If this is the case, a drop in prices by false reports saves the government possibly billions of dollars depending on drop in prices.
Ed Coker
#3:  I'm baffled by the fact that the world spends millions on researching and developing smartphones, one model right after the other, yet we haven't figured out logistic transportation of goods and produce. I suggest blatant illegalization of unnecessary transportation. Period. It's not really about the carbon footprint or the cost of fuel, I'm just one of those people who choose to shop local, because it makes sense. And I believe that if everyone believed as I do, it would eventually become more economical and less polluting to puchase local goods. These are my thoughts. And I have a question. I live in east central Ohio and am researching building a greenhouse. My intention is to grow semi organic vegatables year-round to sell to local businesses. I need information on what it takes to grow in my climate year-round. Can you steer me to good advice?
Hope that my opinion was appreciated.
James Argentine
#4:  Hello John - It was nice to hear you state your opposition to farm subsidies. It would be a whole lot nicer to see you take a visible role in opposing federal crop insurance. After all, this is the big kahuna in farm subsidies and is capitalized into land values, has played a major role in the destruction of rural communities, and among the most egregious acts of Congress by granting massive income guarantees and subsidies to the largest farmers. But I guess you are
really not that much of a conservative.
Lowell Thorson
JOHN'S REPLY:  Lowell - you are right. I'm not much of a conservative by today's definition anyway. I have never used or supported crop insurance subsidies and stated that by saying it should be funded by "farmer premiums." Perhaps you missed that. Thanks for writing and watching.



A Viewer Speaks on Predatory Pricing

Oct 10, 2011

Many states have laws that make it illegal to use excessive predatory market pricing for necessities once a disaster is declared. Texas is one such state. Due to the exceptional drought that has forced many cattle producers to either sell off their entire herds or rely on supplemental cattle feed, the feed manufacturers have enjoyed a significant increase in market power, allowing them to set prices at whatever price they decide.

While the manufacturers have argued that volatile commodity prices have caused the more than fourfold increase in the last two years, their quarterly profits have shown a different picture. Land O' Lakes Purina, for example, had an increase in profit of $39 million in the first quarter of 2010 to $101 million in first quarter 2011, much of it attributed to their feed operations and commodity trading.  

Texas is also a state where animal cruelty laws require a cattle producder to provide "necessary food, water or care" and, as such, has defined the necessity of cattle feed. Shouldn't the prohibitions against predatory pricing be enforced against cattle feed manufacturers both by the states like Texas that have declared a disaster related to the drought and the federal government related to the predatory pricing and the federal antitrust laws?

Marc Young
Y1 Ranch
Sealy, Texas 


"Local" Foods and Labels

Oct 03, 2011

Editor's Note: The following comments were received in response to the Oct. 1-2, 2011, edition of "U.S. Farm Report."

#1:  I completely agree with you about the appalling lack of local farmers at the farmers market. Ever since I was a little girl, my dad would take me and my sister to the Dallas, Texas, Farmers Market downtown to get tomatoes, peanuts, corn and any other seemingly "local" fruits and veggies. On a recent trip to the market, now that I'm at the age of 25 -- and a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree focus on the environment -- I was curious where the produce actually came from. To my surprise, none of the produce was actually even grown in Texas! The peanuts were from Virginia. The tomatoes? From Mexico. Even though Jacksonville, Texas, is known as the tomato capital of Texas! The watermelon, corn, cantaloupe, strawberries -- all from out of state. Out of the many, many vendors at the Dallas Farmers Market, I found only ONE who actually grew and sold in Texas: a small, family-owned group who grew in West Texas and sold at the market. I think that food should be labeled to show the consumer the miles it traveled (and where from) to get to its final selling destination. This would help buyers, hopefully, make better choices and support their local farmers and local economy. Thank you for pointing out the importance of food-travel miles to the public!


Tiffany Ingram

#2:  Whatever happened to the idea of country-of-origin labeling? On meat, we might see three countries on the same package. It is even more difficult on fruit juice. It's almost like it is a game of hide the country of origin instead of reveal it.

Bill - Webster County, Mo.

#3:  I am from Lincoln County, Okla. Due to drought (no water, no hay, no grass), I have been in a liquidation mode. As I've been on this land all my life, I understand "proper" stocking density. As a rule, I am understocked by 20%. I also have (had) a pretty strict rotational grazing program, but none of that works when the water dries up. On the "home place," I have no cows. This marks the first time in over 100 years there are no cows on that property. Being only 50 years old, I have a lot of years in front of me, but I don't think I'll go back into the cow-calf production cycle next year. I might not replace back next year at all. In time I'll get back into the game, but I do not think I'll get back at the same level I was at, and it might be a different production cycle completely. Luckily, everything is paid for and I have a job elsewhere. As I look at the books, I think I'll lose less money if I just do nothing!

James Pruett
Prague, Okla.


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