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October 2010 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.

Bullish on Sugar Beets

Oct 25, 2010

Mr. Phipps,

In my opinion, there is only one crop that could be the number one crop grown here in America in a large enough scale to meet what Mr. Vilsack announced on Thursday.  On October 21 he announced that “the government will pay farmers to produce nonfood crops that can be refined into fuel and sold at fuel stations. The government will defray as much as 75 percent of startup costs for farmers who sign up for the program.”  That one crop is (Energy) Sugar Beets like those that were researched up in ND and in PA.  Let’s get on board and save some money and American Soldiers.
 
 
Alan Anderson
Sacramento, CA

Common Sense Commentary

Oct 12, 2010

Hello...

   I just happened to walk into the living room and heard your commentary on the economy, just before the half hour.   Thank you.  What I liked and appreciated so much, was the absolutely nonpolitical way the commentator framed the issue, stating that we need to hear the truth about how long it will take our economy recover, be it a decade or several, no matter how much we wish it were otherwise.  That is, as he stated, something we can deal with and handle...and reduce uncertainty and our fears of the unknown.

   Your simple, straightforward commentary made most of our politicians, on both sides of the debate, look like children at best but more like selfish fools or worse.

   I dont often tune in to your program...but I am a political junkie.  I intend to tune in more to capture your common sense, refreshing ideas.
 
Sincerely,

Anne Cook
Wolf Creek, Montana

 

Editor's Note:  Below is a transcript of John's commentary...

   WHILE MANY OF US ON FARMS WERE LOOKING TO WASHINGTON FOR THE CROP ESTIMATE, THERE WERE A FEW OTHER ISSUES THERE AS WELL. ONE IS THE ON-GOING STRUGGLE TO UNWIND THE MESS THAT IS OUR MORTGAGE MARKET. THE BUZZWORD OF THE DAY IS UNCERTAINTY, AND DESPITE WHAT PROPONENTS THINK IT DOESN'T REFER ONLY TO THE BUSH TAX CUTS. FOR WAY TOO LONG, OUR ECONOMY UNDERPRICED RISK, SINCE WE SIMPLY DIDN'T SEE MUCH. NOW, AFTER SOME SEVERE SHOCKS WERE ARE PROBABLY OVERPRICING RISK - REDUCING CREDIT FLOWS TO TRICKLES. THIS DOES NOT INSPIRE CONFIDENCE TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE. I CAN'T SEE ANY ACTION BY CONGRESS, THE WHITE HOUSE OR THE FEDERAL RESERVE THAT WILL ALLAY THESE FEARS QUICKLY. IF HISTORY IS ANY JUDGE, WE SIMPLY OUTLIVE THEM BY WORKING OUR WAY THROUGH THE ISSUES, SUCH AS RESOLVING THE MILLIONS OF MORTGAGES ONE AT A TIME. IN FACT, MOST OF THE ECONOMIC MESS WILL REQUIRE LONG-TERM SACRIFICE AND ADJUSTMENT. ONE PREDICTION I READ THIS WEEK WAS FOR A DECADE OF SLOW GROWTH IN THE U-S FOLLOWED BY TWO MORE DECADES OF SLOW GROWTH. THIS SEEMS ABOUT RIGHT TO ME. BIG HOLES TAKE SOME TIME TO FILL IN. MAKING A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO THIS HARD WORK WOULD NOT JUST START US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT WOULD REMOVE MUCH UNCERTAINTY. AFTER ALL, AN UNEXCITING BUT BELIEVABLE FORECAST IS STILL A FORECAST - AND ONE WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO MAKE HAPPEN.

Yellow Tractor Ideas

Oct 11, 2010

***Editor's Note:  We asked viewers for more information on an old yellow tractor featured in Tractor Tales - the responses are below...

#1:

John,

    I’m 99 percent sure the yellow tractor is because it is a commercial model, not and agricultural model.  It has all the signs.  The yellow paint is obviously a solid sign.  In addition, the C on the model number stamped on the tractor as shown in your video is indicative of a “commercial” tractor.  Also, the fact that the tractor was owned by an airline in combination with the other two signs of commercial, make for the third indication.
    I have two quick examples of other commercial models of what would normally be agricultural tractors.  John Deere has had commercial/industrial tractors through the years.  http://houston.craigslist.org/atq/1967769407.html  The link here is for a 420 John Deere.
    We have a Case industrial/commercial antique tractor.  The old “VAC” Cases were agricultural models.  We have a VIC, which is a similar tractor but an industrial/commercial version.
    I’m sure there is significantly more information available, but that is a bit of my commercial/industrial knowledge.
Dave E. Anderson

 

#2:

That Eastern Airlines tractor you showed would have been a custom model, made for EAL by Ford for use on runway areas. Custom models were made by many companies similar to being able to order custom model vehicles. Yellow was a safety color for equipment around airfields to include military airfields. I spent a career in the Air Force and most of our equipment for the flightline and runway areas came delivered safety yellow although eventually they made most of it olive drab with white reflector tape for night obviously for camoflage, A lot of the equipment that was yellow has gone to that flourescent safety green now but for the same reason of visibility when they are around aircraft. I'm not sure why EAL would have ordered a cultivator type tractor but it may have had some attached equipment like a runway brush that the center steering setup worked better for.

Russ Blakeman
Clarkson, KY

 

Viewer Feedback

Oct 04, 2010

***The following comments were received following the October 2-3, 2010 edition of the program...

#1:

John & Al:
  I enjoy your program and tape it every week.  Al, the market portion  of the show is super; I would suggest a third segment for livestock producers who use corn and meal.  What do your experts  suggest for us with regard to pricing our inputs...corn, meal, DDGS, by-products, fat....etc.
  John, your commentaries are interesting and thought provoking.  I would suggest you spend as much time as possible helping livestock farmers fight off the mounting criticism of large farms.  We are your customers......supporting us is just good business.  And except for a vey few poor managers, who seem to get all the press,  the industry as a whole does a terrific job of producing low cost and safe foods for our country and the world.  Maybe one of your next commentaries could explore what would happen if all the anti CAFO organizations got their way and put us out of business.  Do we really want and can we really afford to depend on local food/farmer markets for our food.  I think its great for those producers to supplement our food supply.  But do we want to force our food production out of the country and rely on others to produce our protein?.  To me, not being in control of our food supply is a national security issue..
   Another thought, as long as I am writing:
   If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well......
   If you aren't going to do it right, don't do it at all....
   Al and John, I am sure you get my drift.....If the Gov. can't report grain supplies correctly, we would be better off if they didn't do the job at all.  I would rather just depend on INFORMA and other private groups for the information.  At least they are constistant.  I use over a million bu. of corn each year and about 125 tons of meal per week.  When the gov. tells us we are going to be short of my primary feed ingredient, I plan ahead and make purchases accordingly.  Most at much higher prices than I felt comfortable buying.  Now the gov't finds over 300 million bu of corn and the market drops .....  Except for the specs, we would have been better off with private forecasters.  On this weeks show, I think it was Brian, it was suggested we may get this corrected in Dec.  Oh great, we have to switch gears again!  How can we do any planning with this scenario?.  Farmers and ranchers have enough variables in our life.  Every day is more of a gamble.  What a challenging way of life!  Except for the Gov't contributions.....I love it.
Dave Thompson
Pearl Valley Eggs
Pearl City, Illinois
 
#2: 

Dear sirs,

   I appreciated the class you showed by actually reading and responding to the rude person who started his email by calling you a moron! I enjoy watching the U.S. Farm Report when I get up early enough to watch it on Saturday mornings. Although I am not a farmer, I have friends who are farmers. I live in Green Bay, Wisconsin and am surrounded by many small farms in what have always traditionally been Belgian settlements. This Belgian heritage is still alive and well with recent kermiss festivals, with kermiss being the Belgian word for harvest. There are other festivals during the summer when traditional Belgian foods like trippe, pie, and booyah are served, and the rural parishes occasionally have outdoor polka masses with tubas! Actually now that I think about it, I guess the polka masses mainly reflect the heritage of the Polish and Czechs but some of the parishes in Belgian country have adopted the polka masses nonetheless! For the record, one of my Belgian farmer friends has from time to time called me a moron, but it's all in good fun and not meant as an insult as was the case with your rude emailer! Sorry I forgot the host's name (which is why I addressed this as "Dear sirs"), but seeing as how I have a bad memory and I only see your show once a week when I'm half asleep, that's not too surprising!

Sincerely,

Gordon Engel

***Editor's Note:  Below is a transcript of the Mailbag segment referred to in Gordon's email...

   TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....

   DON M HAS SOME ADVICE FOR MY COMMENTARIES:
"MORON.............THE EARTH "HAS" BEEN HIT BY GIANT ASTEROIDS MANY TIMES. CHECK UR FACTS B4 U OPEN UR BIG MOUTH AGAIN!!!"
   THE STATEMENT TO WHICH HE REFERS WAS AT THE CLOSE OF MY ASSESSMENT OF THE POSSIBILITY OF AN AG-BIOTERRORIST THREAT FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS "THE THREAT YOU DESCRIBE MAY BE POSSIBLE, BUT I RANK IT WITH THE EARTH GETTING HIT BY AN ASTEROID."  YOU ARE CORRECT, DON. THE EARTH HAS BEEN HIT BY LARGE ASTEROIDS BEFORE, AND BECAUSE OF THE GEOLOGIC RECORDS WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ASSESS WITH REASONABLE ACCURACY WHAT THAT RISK IS. 
   LARGE ASTEROIDS WHICH CAN CAUSE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE ARE ANY OVER 1 KILOMETER IN DIAMETER, AND THEY HIT ABOUT ONCE EVERY MILLION YEARS.  SO CALLED "DINOSAUR KILLER" ASTEROIDS OCCUR IN INTERVALS OF TENS OF MILLIONS OF YEARS. I WAS REFERRING TO LARGE ASTEROIDS SINCE SMALLER STUFF IS NORMALLY LABELED METEORS.  RISK ASSESSMENT IS BEST DONE BY COMPARISON. THE ODDS OF DEVISING A GENETIC SOYBEAN TIME BOMB AND DEPLOYING IT ACROSS THE FIELDS OF AMERICA IS IN THE ORDER OF MAGNITUDE OF AN ASTEROID IMPACT - SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE VERY FAR DOWN ON OUR WORRY LIST. NOT ZERO - BUT NOT MUCH. 
   IN FACT, SINCE THE LIFETIME ODDS OF DYING IN AN AIRPLANE CRASH ARE ROUGHLY ONE IN TEN THOUSAND AND I FLY WITHOUT UNDUE ANXIETY, I USE THAT NUMBER FOR REFERENCE.  THE THREAT OF BIOTERRORIST BEANS OR ASTEROIDS IS VASTLY SMALLER.

Combine Fire

Oct 01, 2010

Hi John
I was watching the U.S. farm report on Sunday at 4:00 PM and I was listening to your comments on field fires, so I decided to send you my story. I'm from Wells County Indiana and this last Thursday 9/23/10 at 4:22 PM we lost our combine when harvesting soybeans due from fire due to extremely dry condition and high winds. We also had a big field fire due from the combine fire. We had 6 rural (mostly volunteers) fire department on scene fighting the fire's. We would like to thank all the fire departments and volunteer who help us.
There was 7 or more fire Thursday and Friday in our area there was field fires and a lot of combine fire those two days. These fires from farmers harvesting made head lines. Even on you tube was my field fire, Type in (Hoosier highway fire) and you can see a clip of extreme smoke. This was the same day that the Rushville fire was down by Indy you talk about on your show. I will send an attachment of our combine. These pictures came from people with cell phone cameras that was watching. Over all nobody got injured and everyone was safe.
Beside all the excitement on those two days, we rented a combine and back to work as of Saturday. 2010 harvest is going at a record pace for us and with very good yields.

Doug Klefeker

Combine fire 2Combine fire 1

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