AgDay Daily Recap - February 3, 2012

February 3, 2012 04:41 AM

FEBRUARY 3, 2012

Good morning everyone. I just returned from the Top Producer Seminar in Chicago. Discussions ranged from farm economics to land values. Of course, the uncertainty of a farm bill was fodder for debate. On Thursday, Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow announced the farm bill hearing schedule for the committee over the next two months. The first hearing will be February 15th where the panel will evaluate policies that would impact economic growth and energy in rural America. A hearing in late march will look at risk management, which is a primary concern for many farmers.

At the Top Producer Seminar in Chicago, noted Washington journalist Jim Wiesemeyer spoke on a host of issues, including the farm bill. Wiesemeyer is a Vice President with Informa Economics and a consultant with Pro Farmer Newsletter. He says there's been plenty of discussion in Washington as to whether the farm bill debate will even take place this year. Wiesemeyer lays out the timeline for the measure to move forward. Wiesmeyer says a new farm bill is possible because congress will want to show it can pass legislation prior to the November elections

This morning we've got the latest farm journal pulse results on 2012 inputs. Are yours locked in? If you'll remember, farm journal pulse is a bi-monthly text message poll sent to producers across the country from our corporate partners at farm journal ---powered by commodity update texting service. The Farm Journal Pulse question asked - "How much of your 2012 crop inputs are locked in?" The results show nearly 60% of farmers have locked in at least half of their 2012 input prices. With continued volatility in the grain markets and high fertilizer prices expected this year, many analysts have been cautioning farmers to lock in their input prices sooner rather than later. To join this discussion go to

The first major metropolitan area in Texas is apparently emerging from the state's historic drought. The weekly drought monitor shows the Dallas-Fort Worth area as being not in drought for the first time since July. Texas has been in the grips of the most severe one-year drought in state history. While residents in those areas will likely no longer have any water restrictions, meteorologists warn the situation remains precarious. More than half the state remains in severe or exceptional stages of drought, and a drier-than-normal spring or hotter-than-usual summer could quickly tip wetter areas back into drought.

The southwest drought will be our focus next week when we look at the weather impacts on agriculture. We have a special series of reports called "From Fire to Flood" which will look at the dollars and cents impact of the drought and wildfires in Texas. We'll also look at the impact on ag, caused by some of the record flooding last year.

In Agribusiness after months of falling prices, natural gas is on the rise once again.
The energy information administration says the nation's supplies slipped back last week.
The 132 billion cubic foot drop surprised analysts, although storage levels are well above the five year average. Last month prices hit a 10 year low.

And I just got back from Chicago and the historic Hilton hotel. The mid-west landmark played host this week to some of the biggest growers in the country. More than a thousand people were on hand for the three day event. Top Producer Seminar is now one of the nation's leading business conferences and its roster of speakers continues to expand. I caught up with one of the nation's premiere economists for today's analysis.

Vince Malanga

This week we've been profiling the finalists for Top Producer of the Year. Today we end the week with our winner. Greg Halverson of North Dakota was announced last night in Chicago as the 2012 Top Producer of the Year. This savvy businessman, farmer and father has overcome many obstacles to grow his operation into one of the premiere businesses in the industry. Today he and his family are positioning Black Gold Farms to find success for years to come. Congrats to Greg and the entire farming family. And congratulations to the other two finalists - Michigan farmer Mike Stamp and Iowa farmer Tim Richter. All three are impressive organizations. Still to come, the Superbowl---ag style. We'll be right back.

The weekend is here. And for many of us, we'll spend Sunday in front of the TV. After all it's Super Bowl time. What does the Super Bowl and agriculture have in common? It's simple -- food. If chicken wings are on your super bowl menu, you aren't alone. The National Chicken Council says Americans will consume more than a billion chicken wings. Someone at the NCC did the math. And that's enough wings to circle the earth more than twice. In preparation for the Super Bowl 46, there are three states celebrating more than others

So, let's take a look at agriculture in the two states which will be playing in the game. In New York dairy products are the top agriculture commodity accounting for nearly two-thirds of the state's agricultural income. Second on the list for New York is the greenhouse/nursery sector. And rounding out the top three agriculture commodities in New York is apple production. In fact, New York ranks second nationwide in apple production.

In Massachusetts - home of the patriots - agriculture looks a little different. Greenhouse and nursery products are the leading commodity. That sector accounts for more than 35% of the state's ag value. Number two for agriculture production is cranberry production Dairy products rounding out the top three.

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