Jul 24, 2014
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THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT

EPISODE # 2112

FEBRUARY 1-2, 2014   

 

JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. IN THE END THE VOTE WAS SURPRISINGLY STRONG IN THE U-S HOUSE FOR THE NEW FARM BILL. WHILE PASSAGE IN THE SENATE SEEMS LIKELY, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN HISTORY, RURAL LEGISLATORS DID NOT LINE UP SOLIDLY BEHIND THE BILL. NOW BEGINS THE PROCESS OF FIGURING WHAT NEW PROGRAMS LIKE ARC AND PLC ACTUALLY MEAN TO FARMERS, AND I EXPECT SURPRISES. I THINK IT IS ALSO FAIR TO ASSUME THAT THIS BILL, LIKE EVERY OTHER FARM BILL WILL COST FAR MORE THAN ITS CURRENT ESTIMATE.

HEADLINES:

THE U-S SENATE IS EXPECTED TO VOTE ON THE 2014 FARM BILL THIS COMING WEEK. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED THE LONG-AWAITED MEASURE ON WEDNESDAY. THE VOTE WAS 251-TO-166. HERE ARE SOME OF THE KEY POINTS OF THE BILL. DIRECT PAYMENT PROGRAMS ARE GONE. BUT THERE IS A BOOST IN CROP INSURANCE SUBSIDIES. THERE ARE ALSO HIGHER SUBSIDIES FOR RICE AND PEANUT GROWERS. AND TO THE CONTENTIOUS ISSUE OF FOOD STAMPS - THE PROGRAM WAS CUT 800-MILLION FROM THE 80-BILLION DOLLARS SPENT EACH YEAR BY THE GOVERNMENT. WHILE NOT AS MUCH AS HOUSE REPUBLICANS PUSHED FOR, THE CUTS WERE DEEPER THAN WHAT SENATE DEMOCRATS WANTED. ALSO CUT IS THE SO-CALLED 'KING AMENDMENT', NAMED AFTER IOWA CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING. THAT LEGISLATION WOULD PREVENT STATES, LIKE CALIFORNIA, FROM IMPOSING THEIR OWN ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS ON FARM GOODS TRANSPORTED FROM OTHER STATES. FOR EXAMPLE, EGGS PRODUCED IN IOWA COULD NOT BE SHIPPED TO CALIFORNIA IF IOWA DOES NOT REQUIRE PRODUCERS TO USE ROOMIER CAGES. THE FARM BILL ALSO RESTORES USDA'S LIVESTOCK DISASTER PROGRAMS. THOSE PROGRAMS ARE INTENDED TO HELP PRODUCERS, LIKE THE SOUTH DAKOTA RANCHERS WHO LOST THOUSANDS OF HEAD OF CATTLE BY THE FREAK OCTOBER BLIZZARD. IF PASSED BY THE SENATE, THE LIVESTOCK INDEMNITY PROGRAM WILL COMPENSATE FARMERS AND RANCHERS 75-PERCENT OF MARKET VALUE FOR WEATHER-RELATED LOSSES IN 2012, 2013 AND SUBSEQUENT YEARS. MEANWHILE ONE OF THE MAJOR CATTLE GROUPS IN THE COUNTRY CAME OUT AGAINST THIS VERSION OF THE FARM BILL. CALLING IT FLAWED POLICY, THE NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S BEEF ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL OPPOSE THE LEGISLATION. IT'S BEEN A CHALLENGING WEEK WEATHER-WISE. AND SOME FORECASTERS SAY THE COLDER-THAN-NORMAL TEMPERATURES COULD STICK AROUND WELL INTO FEBRUARY. AND THEN LATE IN THE WEEK MUCH OF DIXIE GOT HIT WITH SNOW, COLD AND ICE. ATLANTA WAS PARALYZED BY THREE INCHES OF SNOW. THOUSANDS OF MOTORISTS GOT STUCK ON INTERSTATE 75 AND WERE STUCK IN THEIR CARS FOR 12 HOURS OR MORE.

CROP WATCH:

WHILE SNOW AND COLD DOMINATED WEATHER NEWS THIS WEEK, FOR FARMERS IN CALIFORNIA DROUGHT IS THE BIG NEWS. THE NEW DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS DETEORIATION IN THE AG-INTENSIVE 'CENTRAL VALLEY'. THERE WAS A ONE CATEGORY DOWNGRADE FROM EXTREME TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT FROM MONTEREY TO BAKERSFIELD. CROPS AND HERDS ALIKE ARE IN ROUGH SHAPE. AND THE MONITOR ALSO POINTS OUT A SNOW LAB NEAR THE FAMED DONNER PASS IN THE SIERRA MOUNTAINS IS MEASURING JUST EIGHT INCHES OF SNOW ON THE GROUND. THAT'S THE LOWEST AMOUNT FOR THIS TIME IN JANUARY SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO.

ROUNDTABLE:

WE'RE OFF TO CHICAGO AS OUR TEAM OF ANALYSTS GATHER AT THE TOP PRODUCER SEMINAR.

JOHN’S WORLD:

WHILE MOST FARMERS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE MARKETS OR CONGRESS, THERE ARE DEVELOPMENTS AROUND THE GLOBE THAT WE NEED TO KEEP AN EYE ON AS WELL. ONE OF THESE IS UKRAINE, ONE OF OUR GRAIN EXPORT COMPETITORS. UKRAINE HAS BEEN HIT WITH MASSIVE PROTESTS AFTER THE GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO SEEK CLOSER TIES WITH RUSSIA INSTEAD OF THE E-U. PRESIDENT PUTIN APPARENTLY MADE THE GOVERNMENT AN OFFER THEY COULDN'T REFUSE WITH MASSIVE AID AND BARGAIN DEAL ON NATURAL GAS. TO UNDERSTAND THE ROOT PROBLEMS IT HELPS TO USE THIS MAP FROM THE WASHINGTON POST, WHICH SHOWS WHERE THE UNREST IS OCCURING AND WERE THE TWO LANGUAGES - UKRAINIAN AND RUSSIAN ARE SPOKEN. WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR FARMERS IS TO SEE WHERE THE MAIN CROP - ESPECIALLY CORN - REGIONS ARE: SQUARELY IN THE RUSSIAN-SPEAKING AND RUSSIAN LEANING AREA. AS THIS POLITICAL TURMOIL CONTINUES BUSINESS BECOMES HARDER, ESPECIALLY FINANCE. NOW ADD IN THE TROUBLE EMERGING MARKETS LIKE UKRAINE ARE HAVING WITH THEIR CURRENCIES, AND YOU CAN SEE THAT PREDICTING TRADE EFFECTS IS BECOMING DIFFICULT. IT'S SOMETHING FOR US TO MONITOR, I THINK.
JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. THERE WAS A SHOCKER ON MY FARM AT THE ELECTRICITY METER. WE PAY ACCORDING TO THE HOURLY WHOLESALE PRICE, RATHER THAN A FLAT RATE LIKE MOST. WITH CAREFUL TIMING, WE NORMALLY PAY ABOUT 30 PERCENT LESS. BUT LAST MONDAY THE WHOLESALE PRICE TRIPLED TO A PEAK OF 34 CENTS PER KILOWATT HOUR. IT ONLY LASTED FOR ONE DAY, BUT DOES SHOW THE STRAIN THIS COLD WEATHER PUT ON OUR POWER GRID.
HEADLINES:

WHILE MUCH OF THE COUNTRY RECOVERS FROM A WEEK OF COLD AND SNOW, IT MAY TAKE LONGER FOR YOUR WALLET TO RECOVER. THE MAJOR FUELS USED TO HEAT HOMES ARE IN RECORD PRICE TERRITORY. SOUTHERN POULTRY FARMERS ARE WORRIED ABOUT KEEPING THEIR BIRDS ALIVE DURING THE COLD SNAP. CHICKEN FARMER JEREMY BROWN HAS SIX POULTRY HOUSES FULL OF CHICKS TO KEEP WARM THROUGH THE FRIGID WEATHER. A DELIVERY BOTTLENECK IN THE PROPANE INDUSTRY ISN'T HELPING MATTERS. TWO YEARS PAST DUE, BUT A NEW FARM BILL APPEARS TO BE CLOSE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S SIGNATURE. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPROVED THE BILL THIS WEEK. THE SENATE IS EXPECTED TO VOTE THIS COMING WEEK. THE MOST EXPENSIVE - AND MOST CONTENTIOUS - ASPECT OF THE FARM BILL IS THE FOOD STAMP PROGRAM. THIS VERSION OF THE BILL CUTS 800-MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE 80-BILLION DOLLAR PROGRAM. TWO COLORADO CANTALOUPE FARMERS WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO MISDEMEANOR CHARGES STEMMING FROM A DEADLY LISTERIA OUTBREAK IN 2011 WILL NOT SERVE ANY JAIL TIME. THE BIG FOOTBALL GAME IS THIS WEEKEND. WHAT'S ON YOUR PARTY MENU? CHANCES ARE IT INVOLVES CHICKEN WINGS.

APPLE BUTTER:

AS YOU GET READY TO PREPARE BREAKFAST THIS WEEKEND, HOW ABOUT SOME BISCUITS SLATHERED WITH APPLE BUTTER? DID YOU KNOW IT TAKES HOURS TO COOK APPLE BUTTER TO THE CORRECT COLOR AND CONSISTENCY? SHERRI MCKINNEY FROM THE VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU TAKES US BEHIND THE SCENES OF ONE SHOP.

BAXTER BLACK:

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE AT WORK WHO SAYS "WAIT...JUST ONE MORE THING" BEFORE YOU HEAD HOME? BAXTER BLACK CAN RELATE.

TRACTOR TALES:

AL, WHAT KIND OF TRACTOR ARE WE LOOKING AT TODAY?WELL JOHN, WE HAVE A FARMALL SUPER C THIS WEEK FROM MINNESOTA. WE'VE HEARD ALL SORTS OF STORIES ABOUT HOW SOME COLLECTORS ACQUIRE THEIR TRACTORS, BUT THIS FAMILY STORY RUNS DEEP IN THEIR VEINS.

CHURCH SALUTE:

TODAY'S COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE GOES TO FLORA COMMUNITY CHURCH WHICH IS JUST OUTSIDE ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS. THE CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1859. WHEN IT WAS STARTED, IT WAS A UNION OF FIVE DENOMINATIONS - METHODIST EPISCOPAL, WESLEYAN METHODIST, FREE-WILL BAPTIST, DISCIPLES OF CHRIST AND UNIVERSALIST. CURRENT PASTOR RON MEYER SAYS THEY HAD A SIMPLE RULE BACK THEN - "IF YOU WANT TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH, YOU HAVE TO LIKE THE OTHER MEMBERS." AND DESPITE THE DIFFERENCES, IT APPARENTLY WORKED. CONGRATULATIONS TO FLORA COMMUNITY CHURCH AND ITS 155 YEARS OF MINISTRY.

MAILBAG:

TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG. MY COMMENTS ABOUT NET NEUTRALITY INCLUDED A REMARK ABOUT PEOPLE HAVING TO PAY FOR SATELLITE CHANNNELS THEY NEVER WATCH. THAT PROMPTED THIS REPLY: "THEN YOU MENTIONED HOW WE GET MANY CHANNELS BUNDLED WE NEVER WATCH SUCH AS FOX NEWS AND ESPN. REALLY?" RUSS JAMES POMONA, MO RUSS, I WAS REFERRING TO THE BATTLE FOR A LA CARTE PRICING FOR CABLE, BUT YOUR REMARKS MADE ME CHECK MY FACTS. HERE'S WHAT I FOUND OUT. THE VIEWERSHIP FOR FOX NEWS IS ABOUT 1.2 MILLION - TOPS FOR CABLE NEWS. THAT COMPARES TO 8-10 MILLION FOR EACH OF THE THREE MAJOR BROADCAST NETWORK NEWS SHOWS. TO TAKE DISH AS AN EXAMPLE, FOX NEWS AND ESPN ARE THE MOST WATCHED IN THEIR CABLE CATEGORIES, BUT THEY ARE ALSO THE MOST EXPENSIVE, DISH HAS TO PAY ABOUT $4 PER SUBSCRIBER, FOR EXAMPLE. THIS IS ONE REASON YOU CAN'T GET A PACKAGE WITHOUT THESE CHANNELS. TV NEWS HAS LOST VIEWERSHIP STEADILY FOR DECADES. WHEN I WAS KID OVER 60 MILLION VIEWERS WATCHED THE EVENING NEWS. THE BOTTOM LINE IS EVERY NIGHT OVER 300 MILLION PEOPLE DON'T WATCH ANY CABLE NEWS SHOW. THE REAL QUESTION IS WHERE PEOPLE ARE GETTING THEIR NEWS - AND THAT LOOKS INCREASINGLY LIKE THE INTERNET, WHICH IS WHY WE HAVE A BIG STAKE IN HOW NET NEUTRALITY IS DECIDED.

As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to mailbag@usfarmreport.com or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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