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May 2013 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.

John's World: Good Times....or Not?

May 23, 2013

***Editor’s Note:  The following commentary from John Phipps aired last weekend on U.S. Farm Report.  Following the transcript of his comments are two viewer responses…

John’s World:  I haven’t paid much attention to anything but fuel levels and planter monitors since last week, as Monday brought good enough weather to start and mid-week rains fizzled.  But I have checked the news in those 7-minute stretches between turns – love that auto-steer.  Now I know we have scandals at every hand, too many unemployed, and the usual abundance of anger, outrage and disgust with the way things are going in the U.S.  But buried under all this angst, I find some encouragement.  Despite polls showing Americans deeply worried about the direction our country is heading, many important metrics are improving.  The much-maligned federal deficit is declining faster than ever, as new estimates show sharp downward revisions.  Unemployment continues to inch lower as well.  Inflation and interest rates are still flat-lined.  Meanwhile if you have a 401K, retirement may look a little more possible.  Crime rates are dropping, energy supplies are booming, and the most amazing to me, health-care costs are inexplicably slowing their climb.  It’s not happy days of course, but we’ve been expecting much worse.  We can’t pinpoint all the reasons why things are improving, so many will undoubtedly take credit.  But for me it reinforces a belief that our political system, economic engine, and cultural framework are remarkably robust.  I think the individual actions of 316 million cranky Americans are overcoming our own cynical and gloomy expectations.

Viewer Response #1:  People asking for free food up 115% in MN:

Poverty in America is up and climbing. I expect over 100,000 people to be directly affected by civil disturbances in 2013, through displacement, damage and death. Don't leave your audience feeling warm and snugly like potatoes, marshmallows, and mushrooms. America is going through serious changes.  Let them know, and help them to prepare. All the best, Jim Tanner

Viewer Response #2:   Your comments made last week in regards to the metrics of the U.S. I must truthfully disagree.  I find it amazing to listen to you tell the American farmer and other viewers how well things have been looking up as a whole buried under scandals and.....what was the other problem......Oh unemployment.  Sometimes I wonder how people like you sleep at night with the lies you tell its viewers.  Then again I must remind myself that you are a very low informed individual and you and others limit yourself to the amount of information you want to read or listen too. 


If we are in such wonderful times why do we have more people relying on food stamps than ever before?  Why is gas over $4.00 where I live?  Why can’t my brother-in-law sell his house in Colorado Springs for now over 2 years while asking less than what he paid for it 7 years ago?  Why do I feel like I'm having a harder and harder time trying to live the American dream?  Why do I have to worry that my constitution our forefathers gave us is always being threatened? Why are terrorists being treated like allies?  The list can go on.  Adam Bernard - Jefferson, SD



Viewers Speak: The Economy, Term Limits & Legacy

May 20, 2013


***Editor’s Note:  The following comments were received in response to the May 18-19, 2013 edition of U.S. Farm Report…

#1: John, In my opinion, your positive macro-economic assessment can be distilled into a few simple equations. First, production X price = income. This equation is valid, regardless of what is produced and consumed domestically, from corn on the cob to the tooth picks we use after we eat it. Absent a depression in nature, it's almost impossible to prevent an economic recovery when domestically produced raw materials flow through the economy at parity prices because raw material prices dictate the demand for inputs. Nature credits and mankind debits...This natural exchange equation is the primary ingredient of the capitalist miracle. It seems that Ben Bernanke understands this much better than Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan. See:

 Sincerely, Fred Lundgren - Katy TX

#2:  Hi John and Tyne. We love your show and look forward to watching it each week.  While we are not farmers, we appreciate the hard work and effort of U.S. producers and your report about them.  We also enjoy your many features, including Tyne’s Legacy Report.  We so wish we had sent this to Tyne earlier, since this family farm is in the backyard of the Valley Ford feature she just recorded.  We are hoping the email below will prompt another trip to California for Tyne.  Thank you for your consideration. Lisa and Glenn Miller - Clayton, CA

#3:  Yes, John your right. Despite the fears and concerns about where the country is going (which are well founded with a rear view mirror on history) the essence of Spirit that this country has been founded on is what allows this Democracy to flourish. Simple, adapt and overcome. All living things will do it. What makes this country one of the better places to live is that we still have enough freedom to overcome obstacles, although some question that, but hey, we can vote and CHANGE that too. TERM LIMITS WOULD FIX MOST OF IT! From the Federal level to State and Local, this is what will allow Democracy to flourish and relieve us of the gridlock in our government.  For me as a builder, I was totally wiped out financially. I still have not recovered. I am in school full time pursuing a Construction Engineering Management Technology degree from Purdue at IUPUI, Indianapolis. I will be moving there from Monterey, California. With all of the red tape for building in California, I will probably never go back. There are greener pastures out there. Yes, it was hard personally to be financially ruined, but the light came on late one evening at 10:30pm looking down the back yard of my now foreclosed home and realized is was the best thing that could of ever happened to me. I was free of the obligation and sure, my credit was ruined, but that would change in 7 years. I realized that in the meanwhile, I could go school and really expand my mind and leave the familiarity of despair trying to make ends meet. I have been in school for three years and nothing could be better. In a year, I will be in Indiana; I love that state. With little hassles to be self-employed and a lot of very large businesses have been setting up shop there, the future looks VERY BRIGHT. Caterpillar, GE's new Green Diesel locomotive shop in Muncie, Cummins diesel in Columbus, Rolls Royce - Aircraft Engines - (having taken over the old GM plant in Indianapolis); near the new Indianapolis' 4 Billion dollar airport, Subaru adding a 3rd shift (960 employees) next to Lafayette, Honday staying quite busy; it is hard for me to stay in California (WITH NO WORK). Yet here in California, Governor Brown gets upset when Governors come from other states to California siphoning off business. I can't blame the businesses for leaving.  With time going to pass no matter what, this will have been the best four years of my life. Three more years of school to complete my Masters In Science for Construction Management and opportunity will be everywhere for a guy like me. We all have heard of and may of said "Gee, if I only knew what I know now when I was younger,..."; well that is exactly what has happened for me. Everything is as it should be in every moment in time, even when it seems like a setback. In fact the things that seem to be the detriment to us are the best, it makes us change, adapt, and overcome the paralyzing fear of what to do. Most important of all, get a plan, anything. It is a sure way to leave behind the old. With Indianapolis reviewing their city and zoning codes that have not been looked at since 1969 (really?) a lot of big changes are coming to this area. I was speaking to an employee in Menard's (a home improvement store that Home Depot and Lowes could learn a thing from) and he said that Menard's is going to build 6 NEW STORES in Kentucky. Hey, they must know something because that is a big investment in the housing sector. The future looks great!  Thank you to all at US Farm Report for a consistent great job, Eric Dittmer

#4:  Dear U S Farm Report, hearing the statement that unemployment is down on your show today was a big turn-off.  Real unemployment is not down.  Homelessness is up:

They live in tents:

Park rangers see as many as 10 full-time campers in a park at one time. It's been a steady number of people in recent years who are often trying to climb back into the economic mainstream.  While I admire a man with GPS controlled tractors, I believe he has insulated himself with 200 miles of air from the real world of America today.  And it is going to get worse.  I expect serious civil disturbances this year esp. in cities in the Democratic states, but for the first time, I expect it in Texas; big, ugly and dirty.  All the best, Jim 

#5:  Has anyone ever compared planting techniques when planting soybeans?  My question is this – the difference in yield and quality between fall plowing and spring fitting, spring plowing and fitting, spring chisel plowing and fitting, and no till.  I realize that time and fuel costs play a large factor, but I wonder if it affects quality and yield between the four ways I mentioned?  Thank you – Ray Stephenson


John's World Reax: Strong Opinions on Egg Producers & HSUS

May 13, 2013

***Below is the transcript of John’s commentary from the weekend of May 11-12, 2013 followed by a number of viewer opinions on the topic:


   There is an important debate within the Farm Bill debate concerning how producers respond to animal welfare and food safety issues.  It centers on how California egg producers who must cope with California’s political wildcard:  voter initiatives.  When Proposition 2 passed in 2008, a deadline of 2015 was put in place for new standards of animal care.  In response, egg producers hammered out a difficult compromise with the HSUS to allow more practical implementation.  Since eggs are shipped all over the country, they are asking for uniform federal standards to be included in the new Farm Bill.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  Other livestock groups have charged Egg Producers with caving in to HSUS and strongly oppose any federal standard as the first step toward mandated production changed for their industries.  In my view, they seem to be saying Egg Producers shouldn’t be pushed around by HSUS – Egg Farmers should be pushed around by other farmers.  Egg Producers have a right to plan their own future and negotiate with whomever they choose.  And they deserve a vote in Congress on their efforts.  Hysteria from other livestock groups arises from a justifiable fear that this issue will soon go beyond knee-jerk hatred of HSUS, and spread to increasingly skeptical consumers.  Egg Producers have taken a forward-thinking step toward addressing customer concerns.  The arrows in their backs are a testament to their leadership.

#1:  Dear John - in response to your commentary on the California Egg Producers negotiations with HSUS I would like to share my thoughts with you. It appears to me that the Egg Producers have the right idea of being forward thinking and the American Farmer had best be warned. I do not agree that HSUS is the right entity to negotiate these concerns with and instead should be exposed by American Farmers for their agenda to dismiss meat as a food source altogether. There is no doubt we need to expose our production and process to the consumers’ scrutiny and approval as they are the end user and ultimate judge of our success. American Agriculture cannot argue against the claims of groups like HSUS until we are willing to show the consumers around the world how and what we do to produce their food as safe and humane as possible. As to HSUS, It is like negotiating with your undertaker, your goal is to live as long as possible and his to profit from your death.  Harold R. Edge

#2:  John…..just remember one thing. Way back when……..ALL the anti-smoking crowd wanted was to ban smoking on long flights!! That's ALL they wanted. Remember?  The anti-smoking crowd wrote the textbook that many other 'rights' groups now use………including HSUS! Give 'em an inch and they WILL take a mile! Dick House - Arthur, IL

#3:  HSUS, Peta and their ilk are the perfect example of Godwin's Law (google it if you need to!).   Their way or the highway and seem to find a believer in a legislator who agrees with them or has an arm twisted hard enough so they create a bill.  HSUS sticks its nose into things that are none of their business.  First they forget that animals are personal property and NOT human.  Second all humans should be vegetarians.  This includes no fish, chicken, eggs or milk.  Third consumers do not know what they really want. Domesticated animals should not be kept as pets.  If you have any understanding reverse from the above look at web sites and attend meetings like State of Illinois, Agriculture, sub committees.  I ran into these groups as a breeder of Kerry Blue Terriers.  They want to run breeders out of business because no human should keep a dog as a pet.  They liken it to have a slave.  Granted there are breeders who keep animals in terrible conditions and just like livestock producers are soon out of business if they keep herds in substandard conditions.  I raised dogs because I want to see the breed continue and virtually every breeder I know treats there dogs as if they are gold.  I do not mean kept on a couch and fed bonbons.  Dogs have amazing talents that are very helpful to humans.  Dogs can detect cancer before medical personnel do.  Did I make money for fairly expensive puppies?  I was happy to break even.  We have a grain farm so I do not have to worry livestock and overly intrusive do-gooders for the moment.  I'm waiting for the day that corn, beans or wheat will be banned.  Do I need to tell you anymore about my HSUS thoughts?  I think not but about the pantywaist legislators who manage to get their knickers in a twist. Patrick J. Harris - Carbondale, IL

#4:  Good day,

When and where is all the new legislation going to stop? Living in the poultry capitol of the world (GA) I’m concerned with the Human Society and their actions in California as much as anyone. I feel like the USDA and the HSUS is going to put all the egg producers out of business in this country.  The brown egg market has taken such a hit with the new USDA laws, its put a lot of people out of business. Our egg breaker in Gainesville, GA is only running part time, egg brokers and trucking companies went completely out of business as soon as the new law went into effect.  Farmers forced to dispose of eggs on the farms now is going to cause more disease than any problems in the past. It has also increased the price for commercial eggs, which is passed on to the consumer.  US FARM REPORT should do a story on the new USDA laws and its impact on us here in the south. I support the human society in other areas, but the reality is in few years we will be paying three times the current price for imported eggs.  It won’t be profitable, nor legal to produce eggs in this country at the rate we are going. Joey McNeal – Pendrgrass, GA

#5:  Thank you, John Phipps, for your commentaries and viewpoints expressed during the television show's "mailbox" segment. Your expressions strike me as truly well-rounded and informed.


Viewers Speak: Market Terms & No-Till

May 06, 2013

***Editor’s Note:  The following viewer comments were received in response to the May 5-6, 2013 edition of U.S. Farm Report…

#1:  Dear Al, John & Tyne - I've watched your Saturday program almost regularly since I moved to LA (Lower Alabama) and my forty acres. I don't farm; just enjoy the sanctuary of living in rural America. I enjoy watching your program because it gives me insight into what is going on around me on many of the farms here, mostly cotton, soybeans, corn and peanuts.   My question would likely be directed towards Al's portion of the show. I'm not much on the Stock or Commodity's markets, nor do I know much about them. Could you in one of your broadcasts include a sort of Farm Marketing for Dummies? During the financial segments I hear Al and his panel guests talking about "puts", "options", etc., can you 'splain those in terms that a non-farmer might understand?  Thanks in advance, Bill Silaghi - Samson, Alabama

#2:  John, I really liked your blog on no till farming. We don’t no till on our farm, no till has gotten way out of control in my book they seem to cross a field more than we do. Give me a plow, planter, a row crop cultivator and am as happy as a pig in mud.  I see that in no till they have to put on chemicals to get rid of chemicals from the year before and it seems harder in no till to control pest.  And the price of seed just to control weeds and pest is nuts. I was raised to work the land and it will work with you.  Ty  


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