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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

Viewers Speak: More Markets Please - and Sleep is Good

Oct 30, 2013

 Editor’s Note:  The following viewer comments were received following the October 26-27, 2013 edition of U.S. Farm Report…

#1:  Here, Here!!!  After 38 years of 14-16 hour days this farm wife likes your take on why the fellows often stay out in the field or office or pickup truck so long. Old bragging habits die hard.  Maybe your argument of more sleep and increased efficiency will replace our sometimes mindless dawn ‘til dark habit on this Idaho family farm.  Our sons and nephew who have now returned from college to a very large potato and grain operation are trying to convince my husband and brother-in law of the efficiency of an 8-10 hour day and more time to not just sleep but to unwind with the family and participate in the life of the community.  Yes, planting and harvest season often require a few more longer work days but your comments on the importance of sleep were put on the DVR recording and will be played back at our annual farm meeting this winter.  Besides me, I think my sister in law and the daughter in laws can find value in your comments on sleep and taking the garbage out.  Always appreciate your common sense Mr. Phipps.  Sincerely, Cheryl Koompin - Koompin Farms - American Falls, ID


#2:  Why do you only discuss corn and beans on the Saturday morning market segment?  There is wheat, other oil seeds and livestock markets.  I'm sure (like myself) there are a lot of farmers/ranchers that don't raise corn or beans.  After a couple of minutes discussing corn and beans it becomes repetitive like this e-mail.  I think time as well as being more interesting/informative could be spent discussing a lot more commodities than just corn and beans.

#3:  Dear Mr. Phipps, being an avid viewer of US Farm Report, and having read your column in Farm Journal clear back to the days before hosting USFR was even a thought, I have come to agree with you on many topic and the strong desire to vocally disagree, using disparaging words, with you on others.  NAFTA would be one where we are polar opposites but that is for another letter.  One thing that we may agree on since you have been an advocate of eliminating the farm subsidy program would be that the government shutdown in early October showed how we don’t even have a real use for the FSA system.    Corn continued to be harvested, cattle were still milked, grain still got shipped to market, and guess what…agriculture did not grind to a screaming halt and the world did not end!!!  Yes we had inconveniences like the NRCS guys couldn’t survey a terrace or a backlog of meat needed inspected.  But doesn’t that go to prove we really need to privatize these functions since they were deemed non-essential anyway?   Now might be the time to seriously look at the idea of scrapping all farm programs all together.  Won’t the farmer still go out milk the cattle, farrow the hogs, plant the corn, harvest the citrus because of their devotion to their occupation and not because of some government agency? Sam Willson - Wapello, Iowa 

#4:  I am a faithful watcher of the US Farm Report and for some time now all of the visiting commentators I see on your program talk about the very low cost of corn and the crop insurance farmers will collect because of these low prices. I am curious about the possibility of using corn in pellet/ corn burning stoves? I have a pellet stove and when I was deciding which stove I should buy, I noticed that almost all of them burn wood pellets or corn. Wood pellets are now selling for about $5 per 40lb bag but I have never seen a bag of corn fuel anywhere. I just wonder if this would be a viable market for this huge excess of corn, maybe at a lower cost than wood pellets.  Respectfully, Burt Anderson 

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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

dlb711 - thornton , IA
Farmers, are your commodity accounts safe? Do you know how the person or firm that holds a large amount of your funds and is a key part of your financial planning and stability is regulated?

You should be concerned — they are a self-regulatory group. The National Futures Association was formed as a non-profit Delaware corporation that is not registered to do business in Iowa. This organization, a membership of commodity brokers, realized a profit of nearly $13 million last year, and built its holdings to almost $68 million while being exempt from taxes. The group paid out salaries of about $35 million to 320 employees. This information is from its website on the NFA’s published financials —

The CEO, Dan Roth, is reported to have received more than $700,000 in salary and compensation while many farmers suffered huge losses from the Peregrine Financial collapse and the MF Global event.

It is apparent the brokers were not following the rules, especially the PFG Best, which was reported to have gone on for almost 20 years. Where were the regulators? They should be held accountable to the public for huge losses suffered by many.

The government agency, Commodity Futures Trade Commission, oversees the National Futures Association. The agency is up for reauthorization before the Congress this next session. You, as the public or farmers, should voice your concern to Iowa senators and Agriculture Committee members Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley with congressman Bruce Braley.

You also should contact an organization such as the Farm Bureau and tell it you want the industry regulated in a fair and effective way. The regulators should be held responsible to protect the public and ensure your accounts are safe. You have rights in a conflict over a broker’s activity.

I went through the process of a broker not following the industry rules in handling my account. The actions led to my loss of almost $600,000 — life changing. As the person filing the complaint, I cannot see the broker’s version that he gave to the investigator in defense of his illegal activity. The NFA calls that non-public information.

How can his version be held accountable when he knows he can tell the investigator anything, with no other person having the opportunity to review, rebut or discredit his version? This is not a very transparent investigation. This can lead to “protecting their own.”

This is not an effective way to ensure justice for the protection of your funds and financial stability.

Become informed about this issue.

Doug L. Bell is a farmer from Thornton. Comments:

6:17 AM Nov 3rd


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