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July 2009 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.

A Generation Gap?

Jul 27, 2009
Howdy all at U.S. Farm Report,
   "John's World" was particularly interesting this week. About giving his son Aaron a hard time and our need to be more understanding with a younger generation. After all it usually doesn't cost much, other than time to hear another side of an issue. Goodness knows listening and the ability to listen is getting to be a lost art. Congress is becoming proof of that. The dying art of being able to listen is often times being replaced by the ability to interrupt with or inject opinion based usually on the account of just liking to hear one's self speak, rather than being based on sound logical fact.
    In this fast talking, wheeling-dealing time we are living the ability to listen is becoming as lost as the City of Atlantis. Sci-Fi writers and comic strips often lead readers to future civilizations of beings without ears. Instead of communicating through spoken words or sounds they do this telepathically. Therefore eliminating the need for a mouth, other than for consumption of foodstuffs. And, the lack of protrusions on the head region for audible sounds or the lack of ears. Although some people see ears as not much more than a jewelry holder and something to put things in like keys and Q-tips. Now days people like to hang telephones on them, sometimes on both sides. However this is one of the more direct routes in which to reach the brain.
    Mr. John's comments got me to thinking, which in itself is a day's work for most of us. By giving his son a bit of a razzing and departing some of his fatherly advice, he was passing on a long tradition. This goes back to when man first had a son. The father wanting for his son to be successful in hunting, farming and basically surviving departed his experiences and wisdom. But the son being some years the junior either listened and observed or, as is the case with most younger generations, bucked the system and knew it all already.
   Technology has advanced drastically, that in itself is an understatement.  Decades ago the walking plow was a major improvement over just roughing up the ground with a wooden stick. The advancements in agriculture being some of the grandest. Decades ago farmers used more oil for lubricating the machine than for the combustion in the engine. But today's machines are more fuel efficient, environmental friendly and technologically advanced than just a decade ago.
    Yes, it is the right of every male with offspring, or those several years or decades their senior, to give whipper-snappers a razzing from time to time...imparting to them how it was in their day. After all do we not learn by doing???  Advice is something that can cost virtually nothing, but can prove to be priceless. Plus, if the one giving the advice can get a chuckle, let it pass. Looking back at my youth I can remember getting many a razzing and some Old Timer getting a laugh. But this is a learning process. As years have gone on I believe I can cherish each of these.
    For now not only is it advice that can be derived from these, but life's lessons. I am quite sure that Mr. John can't quite explain how to feel if a planter is not "just right". Also his son's feel for hitting just the right buttons at the right time.  But the frustration from both sides might be explained thusly. The younger generation see this as a sermon and inability to accept a better way of doing things. While the older generation sees it as jealously for the lack of youth and potential possibility.  Ahh, to be young and know what I know now...

As always, a Great job from all at USFR, keep it up!!
Watching from here in BAMA,
Ol James

We've Got Letters...

Jul 20, 2009
*Editor's Note:  Below are viewer comments following the July 18-19, 2009 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

   I am very concerned with all the organic produce showing up at the supermarket, every time I visit the store there seems to be more and more shelf space devoted to organic produce. I have studied organic production for five years now and I fail to see how an organic production system will ever feed the world.
   In my research as well as the research of others including that of Norman Borlaug the father of the green revolution found that an organic production system can only sustain a global population of four billion people. Organic production is truly a gross misuse of our natural resources by farming land with the deliberate intention of only realizing a fraction of its yield potential. The Danish version of the EPA concluded in a study of organic farming that organic production methods could only produce yields equal to half of the yields of conventional farming practices. The IFOAM, which is the (International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement), is pushing for a global organic faming system that is incapable of feeding the current population not to mention the future population growth that will demand farmers to increase yields by 30%.
   To attempt to feed the world with such an organic production system would increase food cost for those who can afford it the least, ultimately starving over one billion people, making organic faming a weapon of economic genocide.
Organic production should be an available to consumers as a choice for those who believe that it may offer some hidden value that offsets the increase cost. However, to use flawed research in order to sell organic farming as a method capable of feeding the masses is inhuman and irresponsible. The fact is organic farming is not capable of feeding the world and until organic farming over comes the weakest link in the production cycle” that of available NITROGEN” there is little hope of this method replacing the current conventional farming practices of maintaining crop and soil nutrient levels with the use of commercial fertilizer.
Bob L. Rogers 

Brother Phipps,
    Not meaning to start off on a negative note, but I have never really warmed up to USFR since Orion Samuelson left!  It’s not that I don’t like you, I really do and appreciate that you are a REAL agribusinessman (FARMER)!  I really have problems w/”Tractor Tales”!  I am not a farm boy, I AM a small farm TOWN boy! 
   My dad (and then me) owned the local machine and welding shop.  I LOVE farm tractors!!!  I used to watch USFR EVERY Sat. morn., primarily for “Tractor Tales” and “Country Church Salute”, but I liked the “other stuff” too.  The current format of “Tractor Tales” seems to be; find a guy w/an old tractor and let him talk about it!  It doesn’t seem to matter whether he knows what he is talking about, and no one seems to care to check!!!  I own a ’45 Ford 2N w/a genuine Funk engine conversion that utilizes a flathead Ford 6 cyl. engine, this engine was built APPROX. from 1941 to 1952, I could be off one way or the other on the years of production!  This conversion was manufactured by Funk Bros. Aviation in Coffeyville KS.!  It was a quasi-factory-approved conversion, typically installed by Ford Tractor dealers and had tacit approval of Henry (Ford) himself!  They built about 150 kits to convert to a flathead V8 and, in the last years, built some to utilize a Ford OHV 6 Cyl.  The most common is the flathead 6 Cyl but there were even two versions of that, of which mine is the “late model”!  I know these things from reading, but I also travelled to Coffeyville to see and visit w/the Funk (twin) brother still living at that time.  His name was Joe and his memory was pretty sharp.  He took me to “his” museum, which was in an old hanger at the original Coffeyville airport, it is in the center of a city park now!  The museum contained several Funk aircraft (which are a story in themselves, they used a Model “A” Ford engine-MOUNTED UPSIDE-DOWN)!  And a converted tractor.  He was an interesting guy! 
   There are, I think, two concerns that are manufacturing NEW V8 conversions for Ford N-series tractors, but they are NOT as clean, nor as complete as the Funk setups!   On today’s (7/19/09) there was a guy that had an 8N w/ a V8 that he utilized to “pull”.  The thing about it that bothers me is: he went on about FORD having produced “about 5000 of these for use in Texas and Oklahoma” and that his was a “factory” unit!  Ford NEVER produced a tractor w/anything but a 4 cyl until the “Commander” series in the VERY early ‘60’s, and not w/a V8 until the articulated 4WD machines, and they were built by Steiger!!!  Maybe I am “splitting hairs”, but I think one should “get it right”, this is our agriHISTORY!!!
Bob from Oklahoma        

Do Analysts Suffer From Short-Term Memory Loss?

Jul 15, 2009
Below are a couple comments sent in by viewers following the July 11-12, 2009 airing of U.S. Farm Report:
*Letter #1:
Hello John,
     I picked up on US Farm Report when you came to RFD this year. Great to have you and the rest of the group to listen to.  I have been watching and listening to the experts say they are baffled and confused as to where the USDA came up with almost 3 million acres of new corn and also the extra acres of beans. Are these experts dealing for the same short term memory losses as the traders had? I remember when the first planting intentions report was issued. And all of these same traders and experts said the numbers did not add up. I believe that all were saying that there was around 7 million acres not accounted for in that report. There had to be upward adjustments in the acres if that was true. So why all of this confusion? As one said just Monday on Ag Day, I can not believe what the USDA is saying. His voice almost sounded as if he was mad because the report made in look bad. He was one of the people saying $8 corn and telling us not to sell any new crop at $4+ fall delivery. Now fall price has dropped below $3 and many are wondering what happen. We were taught in school about trading, Sell a rumor and buy a fact. The fact was there was 7 million acres not accounted for in the first planting intentions report. Short term memory loss made them only hear the rumbling rumor of higher prices. This was the exact thing that these experts and traders always get on farmers about. Emotional trading and forgetting the facts.
Michael Rust
Woodford County, IL

*Letter #2:
    Your surprise at the 'slowdown' of Congressional approval of GMO crops and products surprises me.  Have you not read of the hard push to ban GMO products from the human food chain?  I suggest you look into this site to see what GMO producers are butting their heads against:
Don Fuller

Letter #3:
   Yes the Sioux Falls Stockyards did close but it was because the facility was very old and in poor condition. Sioux Falls had grown around it making it extremly difficult to expand it, however a new very modern facility was built south about 15 miles by Canton, S.D. right off I-29 macking access very easy for large trucks.
Jim Watembach
Yankton. SD

*Letter #4:
    I was watching your show and heard th ignorant comment about the government not good for trading.  The U.S. Corrupt Government has not regulated the market and the corrupt instruments used to scam America.
   The Government should remove or make illegal all of the instruments of the non-regulated corrupt Wall Street sector.  America needs to be forced out of the market and back to an all cash market.
Wall Street tricks have ruined this country and all farms.
   Along with that Free Trade should be STOPPED. It is not our fault that you people trade your crops on the corrupt market.  It's real simple, if the price is not what you want, then shut down.
Dave Beall

LOTS of Letters...Continued...

Jul 06, 2009
Editor's Note:  Below are a number of viewer comments covering all kinds of topics featured the past two weekends on U.S. Farm Report...

Hello John,  
   I will try to keep this short but just so you know where I am coming from,  I am a grey haired 60 year old farmer who believes that global warming is the biggest lie, biggest scam, hoax, and fraud ever pushed onto the people of this world.  Also I am a High School graduate who remembers a little bit about science and the carbon cycle. I also believe we have a hungry world that needs feeding.  Depending on whose estimates you believe there are about 6.7 billion people out there with about 800 million who are undernourished of which 10,000 per day dying of malnutrition or diseases caused by inadiquate nutrition so we need increased crop yields to feed them.
   I remember my Vocational Ag instructor, Mr. Fred Morris, in 1965 telling us about how it is just logical that an increase in CO2 in the air would increase crop yields. An experiment had been done by putting canisters of dry ice in a corn field.  The corn near the canisters yielded more which supports the theory.  I also remember reading about an experiment at the University of Arizona which was done in a greenhouse which also got bigger yields supporting the theory and yields were increased more under stress conditions.  Why don't we here more about these experiments from the environmental wackoos?  Why aren't more experiments being done?
   To answer these questions let me make a comparison.  I have Parkinsen's Disease.  Not too serious.  More of a nusiance than a problem. The most obvious symptom is the quivering in my right hand.  The doctor has me on pills that don't seem to do much to calm the quivering.  I told him that a 12 ounce bottle of beer seemed to do more to calm the quivers than one of his pills.  He said that may very well be but that he couldn't prescribe beer because I might become an alcoholic.  He then asked if I smoked.  I said no, never had.  He said people who smoke don't get Parkinsen's.  I asked Why?.  He said, we don't know and there is not much research being done to find out why.  Do you see the parallels here?  Increased levels of carbon dioxide may have some positives but we don't want to find out.   Thank you for listening.  I enjoy your program.  Try to do even better next week.  
Paul Betz   
Compton, Illinois

   Just a few lines to let you know how much I enjoy your farm report. It is very informetive for me. I live about 6 miles east of the Ala state line and about 60 miles north of the Fl state line. Here on my farm I have not recieved very much rain in the last four years. This spring we had a couple of weeks where I recieved sufficient amount of rain.  For the month of June I recieved 7 tenths of an inch.
Dryland corn has burned up in the fields. Cotton and peanuts look as dry as I have ever seen for June. It has been about 97 to 104 degrees everyday with a chance of rain almost every day.
Johnny Sanders
Ft Gaines, GA

   We consider HSUS (Humane Society) one of the BIGGEST THREATS to animal agriculture’s future here in the United States !! These people MUST be STOPPED or we will be importing our food here in America and we can’t let that happen !!! 
The Joe Fox Family 
Lancaster, Ohio

   You believe that CO2 controls global climate. Consider the possibility you are wrong.  If you have ever been in the desert you know that it gets very hot during the day and freezes at night.  What happened to CO2?  Water vapor in the atmosphere is actually what keeps us warm. When the sun is hot it evaporates mors water and the atmosphere can hold more water. When the sun cools the atmosphere SLOWLY loses water.
   In the late 90's the sun was hot. Now the sun is cold. Ice is building. The way to tell is sunspots.
If you have ever cooked pudding when it gets hot bubbles pop through the thick hot surface and leave a spot.  Turn off the heat and the spots go away.  Times of low sunspots 1888, blizzard of 88, 1911-12 ice in the atlantic in april, Titanic hits iceberg, Niagra Falls freezes solid.  1944-45, battle of the bulge in the snow and cold, so much snow in Corning NY no trains could get through for 6 weeks,
coal ran out. While you worry about being too warm, you will actually have to deal with a mini ice age.
   You all think that there is a free lunch. Put up windmills and get free power just like hydropower. Hydropower converts potential energy into kenitic energy, not affecting the flow of air and rain. Windmills take kenitic energy out of the atmosphere and will reduce rainfall.  It appears that they don't do this but it is because of scale. When we first started using coal fired power plants the air stayed clean.  It was only after we built hundreds of huge ones that the air got dirty. Only after there were millions of cars did we get smog.  In the 30's a small reduction in the flow of air up the wind corridor from the gulf resulted in the dustbowl. The dustbowl lasted until the late 30's when the wind returned to normal.
   When I was in college my biology professor put a frog into a beaker of water and lit a bunsen burner under it. As the water slowly heated he sat there even though he could jump out at any time. He told himself that it was getting hot but he was still ok. When the water boiled he died. My professor taught us that as long as change is slow that people will sit there until they die just like that frog.  The question is will you buy short season corn and raise the issue of windmills or are you like that frog?
John Geis

   I am sooo happy to see RFD now has your show on. I missed it after WGN dropped your show - back to the subject at hand.  You know you can cut a tree down and people can tell what the climate was like going back a 100 years or so reading the rings. The same thing can be done with ice core samples.  You can also tell what was going on as far back as in the graph that follows, 400,000 year's!!!!!!,  Now I believe we are having climate change BUT I for one do not want to blame mankind for it as the graph show's Earth has had tempture and Co2 spike's every 100,000 year's or so going back 400,000 year's "LONG" before man made an impact on Mother earth.  We are now in one of the spike's as the graph shows and I fail to see how man has caused the current spike when earth has gone through this many times in the past without man being an issue.  As they say if you want to get to the bottom of an issue, "FOLLOW THE MONEY"!!!!  In this case who is going to get "RICH" off of cap and trade.  It is very "SHORT SIGHTED" for goverment officals to put more stress on our economy by running up fuel costs, GAS, DIESEL, ELECTRIC and home heating oil/natural gas based on climate change they see in (ONE) human life span, maybe two at most when earth has gone through this for 4000 human life spans. I am a former dairy farmer from Mc Henry County Illinois who sold the farm 10 year's ago and moved the Whole family to Florida.
Thank you,
John Steffen
Starke Florida KOA

   How long before you will be changing the name of your program to Farm Bureau Ag Report?  That is the only source you quote so there is no balance to your reports. Concerning the organic situation. There are diverse reasons farmers aren't recertifying. Namely, the organic certification doesn't mean a thing any more. The organic certification standards allow too much that is NOT organic. It's the same product over all as any product marketed anywhere. Why pay and go through all the work for organically raised food if your neighbor can raise the same commodity using non organic sources and both of you are considered organic? You need to do more research on topics you report on. The Farm Bureau is NOT a farm organization for farmers. It is Big Business for making money. Farm Bureau wants to run the world for the benefit of its stockholders, not the benefit of the people in the world.
Toni Pralle
Latimer, IA

   I thought you might appreciate a positive story from a farmer about the wet weather this year.  I have been raising Christmas trees for 29 years in the Argenta/Oreana, IL area, NE of Decatur.  We just finished 5 weeks of shearing (trimming) trees at Glenview tree farm and I'm not sure I've ever seen so much new growth as this year.  We occasionally experience exceptional new growth but this season exceeds exceptional!  Normally we hope for 18" to 24" of new growth and I've seen alot of 30" to 40" this summer.  One of the problems has been so much growth that the trees falls over from all the additional weight.  Thanks for your time!
Mike Jacobs
Glenview Tree Farm
Argenta, IL

  Tonight my son had his 4 & 2 year old kids over and he showed me the 6.75 oz drinkbox of apple juice from the Nestle company,now I know the swiss have owned Nestle Food's for some year's but I was totaly unprepared to see the---(Product of china)---stamp on the back just under the 1-800-510-6763 # for question's, what the hell , we now have to give our kid's Apple juice of "Questionable Quality" from China ,not in this old man's house!!!!!!,I grew up on a farm in Illinois and lived there 53 year's before moving to Florida 10 year's ago,Illinois has lot's of apple tree's as does Wisconsin and just about every other state in the lower 48, hell I bet Alaska has Apple tree's in the more temperate area's, someone give me one good reason why we need to import all this "CRAP" from China and give it to our kid's,enough of this insanity already, the only way to fix this issue is to boycott all food company's who import food from China into the USA, "READ YOUR LABEL'S FOLK'S" and you can start by  calling the 800 # above and telling Nestle you no longer will buy their product's, "THEY WILL UNDERSTAND THAT"!!!!!,do it for your kid's and grandkid's and do it for "YOUR COUNTRY ,BUY AMERICAN"!
John Steffen

   This is Sunday July 5, 2009.  I just watched your report on a local station in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  When I tuned in you were reporting on a tree farm.  The only name I remember is Aimes but I don't think it was Iowa.  They were developing trees to plant.  Can you tell me more?  I do not have a place to plant anything, I am just interested. 
Nolan Bowen
Editor's Note:  The story was about the Schackelford Orchard at Ames Plantation in Fayette County, Tennessee - here's a link -

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