USFR Weekly Recap - August 11-12, 2012

August 11, 2012 09:43 AM



EPISODE # 2035
AUGUST 11-12, 2012







Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. We all know the news today is the crop report, so to save time I’ll just add one note. The August crop report is always controversial, but this one demonstrates how badly out of date USDA methodology is to crop assessment in today's agriculture.  I'll let our crop experts and the markets point out why years like 2012 and rigid bureaucratic rules are eroding agency credibility. Time for those's Tyne Morgan


The USDA August crop production report has been hyped for weeks, and there was certainly enough drama in the actual numbers. State by state may be most telling. Looking at five key cornbelt states, there's a 41 bushel decline from a year ago in Illinois, 46 in Indiana, 31 in Iowa and 13 in Nebraska. Much of that decline - especially in the western corn belt - came in the last month. Minnesota is the one bright spot with a one bushel difference. Meanwhile the supply and demand report was equally shocking. While Wasde found an extra 100 million bushels of old crop carryover, even with big usage cuts from ethanol, feed and exports, ending stocks for corn next September look to be about 650 million bushels. This was in line with predictions. For soybeans, old crop carryover was dropped by 25 million bushels. Coupled with the production numbers, it means 2012-13 leftovers will be 115 million bushels, barely above pipeline requirements. World carryover was reduced across the board as weather events in Ukraine, Europe and South America contribute to scarce supplies.


The U.S. drought monitor this week shows a very slight improvement in the scope of the drought, but the intensity worsened. The White House is stepping-up its response to the current drought crisis.


Some neighbors of mine in Illinois have started harvesting corn. When USDA releases its weekly crop progress report Monday, it may have its first national reading of the harvest this year. If that seems early, you're right.


Have you noticed the ads around the webpages on your computer these days? They are dominated by a theme of simple solutions to difficult problems: the age-old tip to reduce your waist line, the secret trick to lower your electric bill, the clever insider gimmick that your banker doesn't want you to know. Let me save you some trouble and unwanted spam in your inbox: don't go there. Ash L. Mencken famously said, "for every complex problem, there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong." as the problems facing us as a nation and even personally unfold in increasing complexity there is a longing for some clever, one-step way to neatly solve issues we barely comprehend. There, I believe, is the core of our problem with problems: solving them involves pretty hard work and study to understand even on a rudimentary level the bewildering economic, cultural and technological forces that affect us. We're not any more enthusiastic about doing that homework than we were in school, so we're always looking for that shortcut secret tip. At the same time, our inability to understand those experts who do make the effort to grapple with complicated problems makes us suspicious of them when the solutions they propose are equally intricate. But Mencken was right, I believe. managing a complex sector like agriculture will require confusing legislation. But as many more are starting to realize, such solutions rapidly become tomorrow's problems.


Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. As many farmers brace themselves for bad news from the combine yield monitor, it is some comfort to know it's going to be over much sooner than usual. The 2102 crops are racing to maturity like Olympic sprinters, thanks to over-abundant solar energy. We'll be talking about confronting our apprehensions over crop yields later, but that initial horrifying shock does wear off, often faster than we think. Our brains have some pre-wired coping mechanisms, and as hard as it is to comprehend right now, even those with the worst yields will find ways to create a new future. This resilience is our heritage both as humans and as farmers.


Thanks John.  Much of the U.S. corn crop is struggling because of too little rain, however, that's not the case everywhere. This may not come as a surprise to many of our viewers, but it's been a record hot summer. Scientists at NOAA say July was the hottest month ever recorded in the contiguous United States. Those records go back to 1895. The average temperature for the lower 48 was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record that was set during the dust bowl - July 1936. In addition, the national climatic data center says August 2011 through July 2012 was the hottest 12-month period on record. The number of farmers markets in this country continues to climb. USDA says there are now more than 78-hundred markets operating. Each year, USDA publishes the National Farmers Market directory. The top states for markets were California, New York and Massachusetts. The mid-atlantic, northeast and southeast saw the biggest percentage growth in markets this year...nearly 15%. By the way, National Farmers Market week ends this weekend. The 2012 Farm Progress show is now just a couple weeks away...and once again we invite you to join us as we take our show on the road to Boone, Iowa.


Even though farmers may be their own bosses, they still rely on others for success in the field. Aerial applicators - crop dusters - offer some of that support. Clinton Griffiths tells us about an Indiana flying-family that is well-'grounded' Next week on spirit of the heartland...we're off to the mile high city to see how urban farmers are doing their part to help fill the need for sustenance in this ever-growing population.


S is the case with just about all things, cowboy's measure things differently than the rest of us. Baxter black joins us from his Arizona ranch to explain...


Al joins us now - I hear we have a rare Allis-Chalmers this week...That's right - comes to us from the northwest corner of Washington state...


Today's country church salute goes to St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran church of Kewanee, Illinois. A member of the Missouri synod, St. Paul’s is celebrating its 150th anniversary. It was started during the Civil War and served by various pastors. There were some tough years during the late 1800's due to outside influences. And even now, there are differences, but current Pastor Burnell Eckardt says the church has survived. Congratulations to St. Paul’s Lutheran.


Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report mailbag...The report from my farm prompted some advice, like this from Don Cornue in Walworth, Wisconsin.


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