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July 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.

Ethanol, Salt & Taxes

Jul 26, 2011


***The following comments were received in response to the July 23-24, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...



#1: Now the Feds want to do what Blogo couldn't. Tax/license farm tractors and equipment that travel on the road. Every piece of equipment would get a license plate and pay a fee every year whether you drive it one day or everyday on the road. If the tax/license fee is too big the big guys can probably get around it by loading it up on a semi. It won't make it any safer just raise costs and reduce productivity.

Ok, a corn planter is on the road about 10 days a year, (actually U of I says you should size your planter to be able to plant your corn in 5 days), and a combine 6-8 weeks from start to finish depending on weather. It would surprise me if a combine is on the road a half hour between fields on any day.
Then, they are considering having anyone driving a piece of farm equipment on the road to get a commercial drivers license equivilant to a truck driver. That means a regular physical, medical card, testing, etc.  Ok, it appears that they are going from subsidies to taxing ag?
Marty Wittig
#2:  John, I believe to be fair in reporting the "ethanol drawdown on corn stocks" that you should report the net bushels of DDG's or WDG's used by the livestock industry as well.

These are bushels that replace corn bushels in the demand side, and the livestock industry has embraced the feedstock for it's efficiencies and advantages. It's a new paradigm.

Just as you say that ethanol supporters have to stay on the same side of the argument all the time on the demand side, then we must have the livestock industry report the total usage of the "corn products" not just the "corn bushels" on the supply side.

Dan Gillespie
Meadow Grove, NE

#3: John, you’re dead on with your reply to Mr Hartwig’s statement. Your analogy’s dead on, to!Just like you, I go way back to the corn surplus-ridden late 70s and the days of the upstart: “gasohol”.

You may or may not know but in countless of my internet commentaries over the years (I am known as “smallfarmor”), I’ve maintained that ethanol from corn makes it just as close as physically possible to use the same bushel of corn TWICE! Take the ethanol out and the DDGs make up nearly all the “lost” feed values. And, I’ve cautioned in the past for farmers to not summarily bump up corn acres based on “gotcha USDA usage numbers”.
“Ethanol” from corn was doomed from the minute it became trendy and fashionable for politicians to promote it! (and the sycophantic NCGA is very culpable in this also)
Dick House
Arthur, IL


#4: It troubles the American public when we here the latest national news health watch gives out data on another study of some product that is not good for you.  Salt has been the center of these studies and then later we hear something complete opposite that states  the study was in error.  I have enjoyed Campbell Soup most all my life and I also do not like the reduced sodium brand. I and 64 years old and do not have a problem with my blood pressure.  We need to question the studies and research on our own to see if these are legitimate.  As for me pass the salt,  and take these things in moderation.  If you drink too much water you could drown!  That's my opinion.

Bob Hatfield

The Viewers Speak

Jul 13, 2011

***The following viewer comments were received in response to the July 9-10, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

#1:  I was reared in Pasadena, CA, and have only recently developed a strong interest in rural affairs.  I find your program most enlightening and entertaining.  I also find your acceptance of "global climate change" (aka global warming, global cooling, etc.) troubling, as the "science" is absolutely NOT "settled" contrary to Mr Gore, and since I believe you to be an otherwise bright individual.  The ONLY purpose of a "carbon tax" is further income redistribution.  If you review Mr Obama's energy program (what there is of it, that is), you will find that Candidate Obama clearly stated that under his plan energy costs would "necessarily skyrocket."  His plan included a cap and trade process that was a "carbon tax" system.  It was a scam.  The entire "global climate change" brouhaha is smoke and mirrors based on pseudoscience at its worst.  If an apparently intelligent person such as yourself can be taken in by charlatans like Al Gore and Barak Obama, this nation is in far greater trouble than I had heretofore suspected.
   However, I believe that such technologies as use of photoelectric cells (solar cells) and wind energy can be, and in fact are, quite well adapted for small scale use (such as single family residences or small multi-unit properties such as duplexes and four-plexes) but are wholly inappropriate, at this time, for large scale operations (such as powering a small town, or, even more absurdly, a city).  And, of course, to prove this statement, I must state the contradiction.  In the Palm Springs, CA, area, there is a large "wind farm" with wind turbines as far as the eye can see!  I'm not sure what percentage of the areas' energy is provided by this facility, but it does exist, and on a rather large scale.  However, running power lines any significant distance quickly becomes prohibitively expensive.
   As I said at the start, I find your program to be highly informative, entertaining and, from time to time, quite provocative.  Please keep up the excellent work!
Joe Alletto, RN
Pasadena, CA (Soon to be Phoenix, AZ)

#2:  Can’t believe that you are complaining about the subsidies paid to wind power projects as distorting the market - how about the almost 100 years of high subsidies paid and continuing to be paid to the energy companies - $50-100 billion dollars a year for all these many years - how about that distorting the market for not only energy but also crops?    And the current politicians continue subsidies to these same energy companies while they turn in huge amounts of profits, aided by their off-short companies hiding profits from the IRS - I think you are way, way off base on that one John.
Richard Fassino
Ketchum, Idaho


#3: I happened to be in the hospital and heard the program this past weekend. I watch at home when the weather is right for the station to come in. I really perked up my ears when John started talking about NASA, and particularly the early years. My dad was Sr. A engineer on the Saturn V S1B (first stage booster.) Yes, he used the slide rule, but mostly he used his head. He had some degree of disdain for calculators and computers even when they came along; he could always do the problems quicker and more accurately off the top oh his head. Stress, Calculus, etc. were second nature to him. Among other things, he had the entire log table memorized. Given any miscellaneous piece of metal, he was rarely wrong as to alloy, or even the mill that it came out of just by cursory physical examination. The biggest "piece of paper" that he ever had was his diploma from "Overbrook Rural High School." Few people are aware of the caliber of people that it took to bring Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo into reality. With Mercury, they were still using modified ballistics tables left over from WWII. I did appreciate John's comments, and even that he was aware of that little piece of history.

Mark Barbee - Dry Prong,LA



A Questionable Crop Report???

Jul 05, 2011

#1:   The USDA Crop Report will prove to be as incorrect as last year's summer report.  We are a farm machinery dealer and talk to equipment retailers across the country.  Eight of ten dealers report poor, late and replanted crops.  Few see the "switch" to corn.  'Protection' is a word used almost everywhere.  My daughter works for a major grain corporation and they shrug their shoulders in disbelief.  The input for these reports is worth looking in to.  Private sector reports are proven much more reliable.  Keep in mind our taxes pay for these "guesses" and guessers.  With the budget crisis at hand, maybe it is time to look to the private sector, prune the 'Ag Tree' and save the expense of the majority of the USDA and other government agencies who have redundant bureaucracies at the state level.  Tim Brannon - B & G Equipment - Paris, TN

#2:  I am a retired dairy farmer from the southern tier of NY, near Corning. Corn here is anything from ok with bad areas in the field to not planted at all. One farmer's field is typical, corn 6 inches high about the same height as the weeds. We will not have enough here. I received a call from an old friend in Oxford Conn. He told me that the front page of the Waterbury Republican had a picture of a drowned out cornfield there. Its caption said, Don't worry USDA says we will have a bumper crop. With 6 million acres gone in North Dakota and North Dakota listed as one of that states that had increased corn acreage in this report and Ohio, where only around 20% had been planted
by June 6th being another and the millions of acres flooded, the drought in the southwest, and the crop reports on your own webpage, it is clear this report is bogus! But why you ask would the USDA lie?
1. By lying they crashed the corn market, allowing major campaign contributors to buy corn cheap. They stand to make billions.
2. By lying they damp down inflation for a time and let end users buy low now. There have been too many headlines about food inflation.
3. It keeps the ethanol plants in business. The vote to end subsidies runs counter to the Administration's green agenda.
4. It allows the Chinese to buy corn well below market price. Everyone knows they have trillions of dollars and are holding a gun to the head of our bond market.
   If the Chinese dumped bonds interest rates would explode, exploding the debt interest payments. Go from 1% interest on a 14 TRILLION debt to 10% and see what happens to your payment. Every farmer knows full well what that is like!  But what of the unintended consequences?
1. USDA will wind up losing all credibility. No one will believe their reports again.
2. Somebody lost huge amounts of money on margin calls and was in effect robbed.
3. Most importantly the market was manipulated! Like any manipulation where the price is artificially depressed by manipulation, the piper will have to be paid.
   Will those futures contracts be honored or will the people who sold those calls be in court? The market is not rationing demand when it should be. So the shortage will be more severe when the combines roll. Instead of $8 corn then will we see $20? Will we let loose hyperinflation as 2 bushels of corn have been sold and only one is in the bin?
   And what of the innocent farmer who sold his crop and finds he has to buy corn to fulfill his contract? Will he be able to declare force majeure  and void the contract? This could destroy the entire grain marketing system. What good is buying protection or insurance if you just don't get paid when you have a loss? Or will he lose his farm when he has to pay twice what he received for his crop to fulfill his contract? Will the Chinese or Sorus step in and buy his land for pennies on the dollar? We could wind up having to pay Sorus and the Chinese for our own food. Wonder if they will let the Federal Reserve print the money.
   Bet a dollar to a doughnut they will not and bet the doughnut will be worth more than that dollar!
John Geis - Addison, NY

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