***Editor's Note: The following comments were received in response to the May 14-15, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...
#1: I have been watching reports from the flooding and for the life of me I cannot understand where you are getting your figures. You say corn production will be up, acres will be up, yet at the same time you say 3 million acres in 3 states is under water. That 3 million acres in Louisiana is going under! These are all acres that are double cropped and I see farmers reporting their wheat and corn that was close to harvest is under water and will be for months, as are machinery, grain bins etc. I look around in NY state and see farm after farm still trying to spread manure and plow. Most fields remain unplanted. Being an ex dairy farmer I wonder will they plow, plant corn or harvest hay? The hay will need to be cut next week! and now we are to get 1 week of rain and I wonder what you guys are smoking. I look at the northern plains and see soil temps in the 40's and below normal heat for the next 90 days and wonder how you will get corn to germinate, let alone mature before frost. So you have reported 6 million acres in 4 states out for the year, (Double cropped so it is really 12 million acres) How many acres were lost in Ohio, Indiana, NY,Kentucky, Tenn, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa????? What are you guys smoking and where can I get some!
#2: Let me start by stating that I am not a farmer or a conspiracy nut. I am from a farm background in the thumb area of Michigan and I admire all those who work so hard to feed the rest of us. I watched the report on Saturday as usual and with the corn report that you covered and the USDA projections for corn stocks I realized that what I had suspected may be true. I'm not a numbers man or a broker but I believe that what is going on is that the USDA i.e. the government is the inflating of the corn numbers.... because the ordinary citizen is beginning to pick up on what the government is up to in the foreign corn market.... as far as China sales are concerned. I believe that what is happening is they are trying to dispel the fear about our food supply and high prices by inflating the reserves that they say we will have, when in reality the reserves are not going to be there, but the steps to a global food distribution system will be... by blending the needs of all countries of the world into one distribution system. But to do this... much disinformation must be disseminated to the American public. It is absurd to believe that we are going to have the forward stocks when the weather is terrible and much of the 92.5 M acres will never be put to seed. What do you think? I believe that we, the American people are being sold a bill of goods...at least where the corn and wheat issues are involved. We are forfeiting our greatest leverage to the very people that will one day will make war on us, or worse yet.... buy up American held farms, and farm land. Phillip K. Gram - Interlochen, MI
#3: Once again I would like to emphasize the need for broader market awareness. This morning while talking weather and planting rates John Phipps made a perfectly valid comment about slow planting rates in the Eastern Corn Belt and that corn would be out of position with corn supplies in the west and short supplies in the east. A quick glance this morning shows a spot corn bid in Indianapolis at $6.75 that is currently $0.07 under the July contract. I have no idea if that is strong or weak basis for that area. At the same time corn basis in the Panhandle of Texas is currently trading as much as $0.63 over the July. I would also remind you that the majority of the corn fed in the Panhandle area originates in the Corn Belt and arrives via the BNSF. The Panhandle region represents just under 30% of the nations fed beef supplies. Without a doubt there is strong demand for corn in the eastern US with ethanol, broiler demand in the Delmarva area and the SE pork complex but to simply assume there is not equal demand in the west is an over site. Hopefully I am not making this comment in order to pick but to bring the perspective that a broader representation of production agriculture is needed. Don Close - Market Director, Texas Cattle Feeders Association
#4: I am an avid viewer of your program and appreciate your objectivity and excellent coverage of all topics farm related. You perform a great service (at no charge) to the U.S. farmer. I retired from Bunge 3 years ago after a 28 year career as both a soybean plant manager and commodity trader. I retired at the age of 55 due to my investing luck and a little skill. Thus, my point. I think folks in the farm community miss a great opportunity to invest, diversify and more fully take advantage of one area of expertise: Ag Equities. Farmers are typically at the tail end of the value chain with Ag companies as only buyers of supplies, service or equipment. By investing in Ag companies, they can move to the other end of the value chain...a shareholder. Ag companies are typically solid, pay dividends and have great stock price appreciation potential. Plus, now is the easiest time in the history of the world to trade / invest in Ag equities due to the internet, ETF's (Exchange Traded Funds), and speed of information exchange via TV. Investing in Ag equities over the past 25 years allowed me to retire and enjoy my grandkids, as well as do some consulting for Monsanto, Bunge, United Soybean Board, etc. I am not selling anything to anyone, now or in the future. I do write a weekly "Ag / Energy Financial Report" that I send to several friends / industry contacts for free where I look at Ag stocks that report earnings in the following week. It is free and worth what it costs, but, lots of folks like it and it gets forwarded quite a bit. Glad to send you a copy if interested. Farmers should consider investing in Ag Equities. They don't have to talk to a broker, your advertisers would love it, farmers know the market and have ideas on trends and profitability, it will help them diversify, it is less risky than farming (with minimal training), and they will gain a better understanding of Ag business. I think the lack of coverage on U.S. Farm Report is a gap that farmers deserve to at least be exposed to. I'd be glad to help, simply to give back to the industry that helped me clothe, house and feed my family since my days on a farm in Paoli, Indiana. Other than 5 years on active duty in the USMC and college at Rose-Hulman and DePauw, U.S. Agriculture is all I've ever done. I owe the industry my time and expertise...for free. I try to be as objective and honest as John Phipps...a very good thing. Thanks again for your excellent program. Gordon Denny - St. Charles, MO