Manager's Corner

November 25, 2015 02:09 AM

By Nate Birt

Three Faces You Should Know: World Leader Edition

Farming is a global business. With U.S. agricultural exports projected to reach $139.5 billion in fiscal year 2015, leaders from major trading partners hold great power in the prices U.S. farmers receive. Policy changes in the three countries these world leaders represent hold great opportunities or challenges for U.S. agriculture. Here are some recent updates that could affect your farm operation. 


“Trade is important. The Liberal Party has always understood that signing important trade deals is important for Canada—it’s important because we’re a trading nation. But it’s also very important when you look at the fact that trade-intensive industries pay on average 50% higher wages to Canadians than non-exporting industries. This is good for Canadians.”- Justin Trudeau, Canada’s newly-elected prime minister, speaking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Although he supports the trade deal, he has voiced concerns over a lack of transparency in negotiations over the pact that could open up new avenues for U.S. farm products.


“As our economy adjusts to lower commodity prices, opportunities are opening up in other sectors: for engineering, agriculture, processing and so on.”-Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, presenting what observers have called an inaccurately bullish outlook on his country’s economy. Russia has banned imports on U.S. dairy products but is expected to reopen trade in 2016


“We have agreed to expand … cooperation in Asia, Africa and other regions in terms of food security, public health system establishment, emergency response, and disaster reduction. And we will maintain communication and coordination in implementing the post-2015 development agenda, promote a more equitable and balanced global development partnership …”-Xi Jinping, China’s president, announcing collaboration with the U.S. to promote global food security and cooperation during remarks this fall at the White House.

Build Your Business Knowledge Base

Executive Women in Agriculture
When: Dec. 3-4
Where: Chicago

Farm Journal Legacy Project workshops
When: Dec. 8-9
Where: Dallas (Dec. 8) and North Little Rock, Ark. (Dec. 9)

Top Producer Seminar
When: Jan. 27-29, 2016
Where: Chicago

TPEN Signature Event (open to members only)
When: Feb. 8-10, 2016
Where: St. Pete, Fla. 

Tomorrow’s Top Producer
When: June 16-17, 2016
Where: Nashville


By Nate Birt

Ag Truck Rule Dies


A proposal that would have allowed producers to pack more food into trucks will not move forward after it failed to win enough votes this fall from U.S. House lawmakers. The Safe, Flexible and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act amendment, proposed to accompany the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, would have raised the gross vehicle weight limit by 11,000 lb. for some vehicles. 

By John Phipps

How Regulation Helps All of Us (and Often Really Hurts)


As the chief economics commentator for The Wall Street Journal, author Greg Ip takes aim at financial dangers in the book “Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe,” his examination of unintended consequences of efforts to protect ourselves from harm. His even-handed analysis can be alternately reassuring and frustrating. 

Farmers should read this book to better understand how our insistence on a “safety net” impacts, often adversely, marketing decisions, environmental outcomes and farm culture. It’s all middle ground in this debate, but we should have a clearer idea of whether crop insurance, for example, truly protects us or simply shifts risk to new aspects of agriculture.

He does offer some conclusions. Simple protection systems are better, even if they grow to unfair regulatory nightmares we detest—farm programs, machinery shields, etc. He also shows almost all of us will “build on the floodplain” if the profit looks right. This book can be a helpful reset of our expectations of how much real risk relief any program or insurance can provide. 

By editors

Questions Surround John Deere’s Precision Planting Buy


Big data is a big deal. Want proof? John Deere purchased Precision Planting from Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto, in early November. 

As part of the agreement, Climate Corporation gains access to John Deere’s software connection. The change of control left producers asking whether John Deere would maintain existing agreements with Case IH and AGCO to supply Precision Planting products to their specific planter models. 

John Deere plans to honor these agreements, and Case IH and AGCO plan to continue their individual partnerships. 

What is still unknown, though, is how the dealer networks’ decisions will play out in the coming months. How many John Deere dealers will become select Precision Planting dealers? Will the change of control cause dealerships that carry Precision Planting components, but are competitive to John Deere, to back out? Follow Top Producer for updates.


Recommended App: NOAA Radio Free


The NOAA Radio Free app is available for Android or Apple devices. As its title implies, the app provides access to weather updates via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), though it’s not affiliated with NOAA. You can search by state and then by the cities in which NOAA information is captured and broadcast in the famously automated (read: robotic) style of traditional radio. The app is valuable for operations farming in multiple locations as you can quickly access basic forecast details with a few clicks. Large fonts and minimal options simplify access to information.

By the Numbers: Organic Overview

$3.3B sales of organic crops in 2014

$1.08B sales of milk in organic markets

$12.6M sales of cattle, cows and beef in organic markets

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