USFR Weekly Recap - August 13-14, 2011

August 16, 2011 03:08 AM
 

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE #1983
AUGUST 13-14, 2011

JOHN’S OPEN: HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. IN MY PART OF THE CORNBELT, THERE WAS A CHORUS OF "TOLD YOU SO" THIS WEEK AS THE USDA BEAN COUNTERS DIDN'T COUNT VERY MANY. THIS IS WHAT ECONOMISTS CALL THE AVAILABILITY BIAS - THE DATA CLOSE AT HAND ARE GIVEN MORE WEIGHT THAN THEY STATISTICALLY DESERVE. BUT THERE IS A SMALL SATISFACTION IN HAVING ONE'S OWN JUDGEMENT CONFIRMED. HOWEVER, LIKE GENERALS FIGHTING THE LAST WAR, MANY OF US MAY HAVE BEEN SOLVING THE AGRONOMIC PROBLEMS OF THE PAST, WHEN IT APPEARS NEW WEATHER PATTERNS, DISEASES AND PESTS ARE THE BIGGER CHALLENGES. BUT 2011 IS UNCOMFORTABLY LIKE 2010 FOR MANY OF US, AND WE ALL KNOW THE RULE ABOUT "FOOL ME TWICE". TIME NOW FOR THE HEADLINES.....HERE'S AL PELL.

USDA PRODUCTION: THANK YOU JOHN. FOR FARMERS STRUGGLING WITH THE WEATHER THIS SEASON, IT PROBABLY COMES AS NO SURPRISE THAT USDA LOWERED ITS FORECAST FOR THIS YEARS MAJOR GRAIN CROPS. BUT THEIR FORECAST IS EVEN LOWER THAN TRADERS HAD ANTICIPATED.

CORN: THE NATIONAL AVERAGE CORN YIELD IS FORECAST AT 153 BUSHELS PER ACRE, DOWN NEARLY SIX BUSHELS FROM LAST MONTH'S PROJECTION. HIGH HEAT AND LOW RAINFALL TOTALS IN JULY REDUCED YIELD PROSPECTS ACROSS THE CORNBELT. CORN PRODUCTION IS FORECAST AT 12.9 BILLION BUSHELS, 556 MILLION BUSHELS LOWER THAN WHAT USDA PROJECTED IN JULY.

SOY: USDA PEGS SOYBEAN PRODUCTION AT JUST OVER THREE BILLION BUSHELS. BASED ON AUGUST 1 CONDITIONS, YIELDS ARE EXPECTED TO AVERAGE 41.5 BUSHELS PER ACRE, DOWN ABOUT TWO BUSHELS FROM THE JULY FORECAST. AGAIN BECAUSE OF WEATHER.

COTTON SUFFERS: ONE OF THE LARGEST PRODUCTION DECLINES THIS YEAR WAS IN COTTON, AS DROUGHT PLAGUED MUCH OF THE COTTON BELT. ALL COTTON PRODUCTION IS FORECAST AT 16.5 MILLION BALES, DOWN 9% FROM LAST YEAR. BALE WEIGHT AND ACREAGE IS ALSO DOWN. IN TEXAS - THE COTTON LEADER - PRODUCTION DROPPED MORE THAN THREE MILLION BALES.

ANIMAL TRACEABILITY: USDA HAS ISSUED A PROPOSED RULE TO HELP TRACK LIVESTOCK IN THE EVENT OF A DISEASE OUTBREAK. THE PLAN IS CALLED THE "ANIMAL DISEASE TRACE-ABILITY" PROGRAM - OR ADT. UNLIKE THE PROPOSED NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM, PARTICIPATION IN ADT WOULD BE MANDATORY. IT WOULD PERTAIN ONLY TO ANIMALS MOVED BY INTERSTATE, THE PROPOSED RULE IS NOW OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMENT, WHICH RUNS UNTIL EARLY NOVEMBER.

AEM SALES REPORT: IN ITS MONTHLY "FLASH REPORT" THE ASSOCIATION OF EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS' SAYS SALES OF ALL TRACTORS IN THE U.S. FOR JULY 2011 WERE DOWN 7% COMPARED TO THE SAME MONTH LAST YEAR. THAT'S FOR BOTH BIG AND SMALLER SIZED TRACTORS.  FOR THE YEAR 2011, TOTAL SALES ARE DOWN ABOUT A HALF A PERCENTAGE POINTS. COMBINE SAYS FOR JULY ARE DOWN 28% FROM LAST YEAR.

AGCO ROLLOUT: MEANWHILE, EQUIPMENT MAKER AGCO UNVEILED ITS LINE-UP OF NEW EQUIPMENT THIS WEEK IN KANSAS CITY. CALLING IT THE LARGEST AND MOST SIGNIFICANT PRODUCT LAUNCH IN THE COMPANY'S HISTORY, AGCO INTRODUCED 15 NEW PIECES OF EQUIPMENT.

CROP WATCH:  CROP WATCH: CROP WATCH THIS WEEK. IN JASPER COUNTY INDIANA, THE CHORUS IS JUST ABOUT EVERY WEATHER EXTREMES YOU CAN IMAGINE, THE CORN CROP LOOKS FAIRLY GOOD, WITH THE EMPHASIS ON LOOKS. BUT CLOSER LOOK SHOWS SUBSTANTIALLY LESS RAIN THAN LAST YEAR. IN NEW YORK STATE OR FROM JEFFERSON COUNTY SAYS CROPS ON THE VERGE OF DISASTER WITH LESS THAN 2 INCHES OF RAIN SINCE JULY FIRST, BUT IT SURE AT THIS WEEK IN TO CROP LIKE. AND IN MONTANA, WHEN THE WHEAT HARVEST IS UNDERWAY BUT IT'S OFF TO SLOW START. 25% OF SERVICE OF THE VESSEL BEHIND THE FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE OF 51%. THEY SAY HAVE THE SPRING WHEAT IS GOOD TO EXCELLENT. UP NEXT, WHERE DOES THE MARKET GO UP ON USDA REPORTS THAT MARKET ROUNDTABLE BEGINS IN JUST TWO MINUTES.

 

ROUNDTABLE: ROUNDTABLE, WITH LIGHT FORESTS AND FOREST TRADING. AND, BILL, WE HAVE ANOTHER REPORT THIS WEEK. ANOTHER ADJUSTMENT ON THAT AND THIS IS THE VERY BULLISH REPORT ON QUALITY. IT'S THE SECOND LOWEST U.S. STOCK ON RECORD AND IN THE WORLD IS THE THIRD LOWEST SINCE 1985. ON TO SOYBEANS, U.S. STOCKS AT THE LOWEST, BUT THE WORLD STOCKS ARE LIKE THE SECOND-HIGHEST. SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TRADE THEIR STOCKS IN THE WORLD ON THE BEANS BUT IT'S TIGHT HERE IN THE US. WELL, LAST WEEK, WE HAVE TO LOOK AROUND THE WORLD. AND THEY ARE BURDENSOME. OKAY, HE ASKED THE QUESTION. AND, LOOK AT THIS. HOW MUCH ATTENTION, I THINK FOR ME I HAVE TO MAKE TRADING DECISIONS BASED UPON THE TECHNICALS, BUT ALWAYS WITH THE BACKDROP OF WHAT'S GOING ON THE SUPPLY AND DEMAND. YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF THAT, YOU CAN'T IGNORE IT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE CORN STOCKS. SO, I THINK THEY WILL GO QUITE HIGHER. AND I SAY THAT EVERY TIME I'M ON THE SHOW BUT I TRULY BELIEVE IT. I DON'T IF IT'S IN THE TOP YET. SO THE TECHNICALS THE WAY WE ARE LOOKING AT THEM ARE POINTING THAT WE WILL HAVE HIRED PRODUCTION TAX. MUCH HIGHER. HOW MUCH? WHILE I LOOK AT WHAT WE GET TO THE TARGETS, AND, IF WE CAN GET ABOVE THAT LEVEL AGAIN IT PROJECTS TO $9.75 AND $13.00 IN MY CHARTS. I THINK THAT'S CRAZY. WHILE MY CHARTS ARE HIGH PRICES BUT WE HAD $25 AND THREE YEARS AGO SO TO TELL ME THAT CAN'T HAPPEN, I THINK IT WILL GO A LOT HIGHER. WELL, I KNOW IT'S LIKE, I HOPE HE'S WRONG BECAUSE IT COULD BE VERY BAD FOR AGRICULTURE. AND HERE'S THE SITUATION. ALMOST EVERY YEAR THEY ARE BUYING CORN AT $3.50 AND THEY ARE STARTING WITH $7. SO THE RATIONING PROCESS IS GOING TO HAPPEN MUCH QUICKER THIS YEAR. AS YOU GET UP OVER $7, THE INDUSTRY HAS ALREADY TURNED RED AND SO YOU WILL BE VERY UNPROFITABLE VERY FAST. AND THE RATIONING PROCESS ISN'T GOING TO TAKE MONTHS, IT COULD TAKE WEEKS. I THINK WE HAVE TO BE VERY BULLISH ON EMOTION, BUT IN BUSINESS AND THE CULTURE WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL. HAVING THE TRADER AND ACT MANAGER ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. WHILE WE HAVE TO ASSUME THAT UNTIL PRICES ARE HIGH AND I THINK THEY WILL GO HIGHER. I THINK OIL PRICES WILL GO HIGHER TOO, AND, I DON'T THINK WE HAVE IS GOOD ENOUGH SUPPLY. THE BIG DIFFERENCES, WHEN YOU LOOK AT --JUST LOOKING AT CORN, ABSOLUTELY, WHO KNOWS HOW HIGH IT CAN GO. BUT IF YOU TAKE ALL THE STARCH GRAINS INTO CONSIDERATION, WHEAT, BARLEY AND MILO, WE HAVE A LOT MORE SUBSTITUTE. WHEAT IS TRADING AT THE SAME PRICE AS CORN AND THEY ARE PUTTING IT THROUGH ETHANOL. THE RATIONING PROCESS HAS ALREADY STARTED. THE SOFT DEMAND DROPPED 300 BUSHELS ON THIS RECORD, SO I THINK WE JUST HAVE TO BE CAREFUL THAT, IF WE AREN'T SEEING ALL THE MARKETS GO UP IN TANDEM, WE HAVE TO REALIZE THE REST OF PROCESS THAT WILL HAPPEN QUICKLY. BUT IT CAN OVERLOOK QUICKLY WITH CORN, THEN, AS LONG AS WE HAVE REVENUE TO BALANCE IT OUT, WE COULD DO THAT. WHILE WE WENT WITH CRUDE TO $150 PER BARREL TWO YEARS AGO, WHOEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THE MARKETS ARE GOING, THEY REALLY FLY. AND, IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. WELL, YOU DON'T WANT PRICES TO GO UP BECAUSE YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. WE’LL BE BACK TO DISCUSS MORE ABOUT THIS WHEN WE RETURN FOR MORE U.S. FARM REPORT. OUR GUEST THIS WEEK, MIKE FLOREZ AND BUILD BIGGER MEN. YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT PRICES, AND MY THINKING IS, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE FOREIGN MARKET? YOU MENTIONED DURING THE BREAK SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK THAT IS TRYING TO INFLUENCE THEM WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THEM IN CHINA. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT US? CHINESE FRIENDS WHO WENT UP 8% THIS WEEK, 17%, THE BIG INCREASE OF THE NATIVITY IN AMERICA JUST WENT ON SALE BY 8%. THEY HAVE MORE BUYING POWER IN THEIR CURRENCIES STARTED TO APPRECIATE AND THAT'S PROBABLY NOT GOING TO STOP. THEY ARE BIG IMPORTERS OF OUR FOOD AND I THINK THAT WE'LL JUST RATCHET UP. WE ARE SELLING A LOT OF PORK WHICH IS RELATIVELY NEW TO THE FAR EAST AND THEY ARE TAKING A LOT OF ATTENTION TO US. AND, IT CAME UP THE BOARD FRIDAY AT RECORD PRICES. AND, ONE OF THE HOT PRODUCERS, THE BACK OF THE MARKET IS KIND OF THE DISCOUNTS OF THE PORK INDUSTRY I THINK WE'LL BE IN GOOD SHAPE FOR A LONG COMPANY AND THE PORK INDUSTRY IS GOOD PLACE TO PARK SOME MONEY. WELL IT'S NOT ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES FOR OTHER PLACES. IN TERMS OF FEED THAT MEANS PORK WILL GO TO HIGHER PRICES. YOU SEE THAT AFFECTING THE WORLD MARKET? YES I DO. I THINK THE WHOLE WORLD ECONOMY RIGHT NOW IS PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE MEMBERS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE THE WORLD ECONOMY RIGHT NOW IS KIND OF THE CLIP AND IF THEY DON'T DO SOMETHING TO SHORE THAT UP IT WILL ERODE AWAY. AND THAT'S THE RISK OF THE MARKET. BUT AT THE DOW JONES AND THE WAY I TREATED THIS WEEK. YES, IT WAS ALL OVER THE BOARD. RIGHT THEY HAVE TO HAVE SOME STABILITY IN THE INVESTOR GROUP AND FUNDS BACK INTO THE MARKET AND KEEP DRIVING HIGHER. AND IT DRIVES TIRED IT WILL DRIVE THE PRODUCT WHICH WOULD DRIVE OUR GREAT PRODUCTS AND THEIR ETHANOL EXPORTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT. BUT THIS ECONOMY THING IS PROBABLY OUR NUMBER ONE RISK AND HOW OUR MARKET COULD GET BLINDSIDED. I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE ARGUE ABOUT THAT. I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY IN MY POCKET, BUT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT INVESTMENT MONEY. IS THAT DIRECT? WELL, AS VOLATILE AS IT WAS, EVERYONE IS AFRAID. LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER AND EXPECTING IT TO LIBERATE. IT HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES. SO WE WERE AFRAID OF THE MARKET AND IT DOESN'T CAUSE THE LITTLE BIT OF VOLATILITY. BUT FOR ME THERE HAS BEEN A VIRTUAL SHIFT NOW COMPARED TO THREE OR FOUR MONTHS AGO. THE INTERESTING GRADES IS SLOWER THAN IT HAS BEEN IN OVER A YEAR. YOU DON'T HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF PLAYERS IN THE MARKET, SO WITHOUT THINKING I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO HAVE ANOTHER WASHOUT TO THE DOWNSIDE TO KNOCK EVERYBODY OUT OF THE MARKET. SO WE ARE GOING INTO THE FALL WITH A LOT LESS PLAYERS IN THE GAME RIGHT NOW. THEN WHATEVER THE MONEY FLOWS, THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT THE PRICE WILL GO UP? THEY WILL GO UP TO A CERTAIN DEGREE. THE END-USER HAS HAPPENED ECONOMIC REASON TO CHASE THE MARKET HIGHER SO HE STILL HAS TO HAVE HAS TO HAVE EVER BEEN TO CURB THAT INCREASES IN LINE WITH ITS COST CURVE. RIGHT NOW IF YOU TAKE THE CARRYOVER THAT WE HAVE, IT PROJECTS PRICES ECONOMICALLY TO ABOUT 720. NOBODY BELIEVES THE CARRYOVER WILL BE WHAT IT IS. PRICES WILL BE HIGHER AND THEY MIGHT BE $7.40 OR $7.50. BUT ACQUITTED OF GOOD WORLD ECONOMY STABILITY AND THE DEMAND TO PUSH THE REVENUE SIDE OF THE CODE UP, IT COULD GO TO $8. WE HAVE LESS THAN AN MINUTE NOW AND IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO TELL FOLKS HOW WE WILL BE ABLE TO CAPTURE SOME OF THE PROFITS FOR OUR POCKET, OR IDEA? I WOULD PARK MONEY IN THE LONG SET OF HOGS AND ALONGSIDE OF CORN AT THE FIRST 20-CENT BREAK. AND YOUR IDEAS THAT DO NOT? AS AN END-USER OR TRAITOR, BUT AS THE FARMER PROTECTING THOUSAND DOLLARS REVENUE FIGURES, ADVOCATE FOR OPTIONS. I DID IT. THINK YOU BOTH. WE WILL BE BACK WITH MORE US FARM REPORT IN JUST THE MOMENT.
 

JOHN’S WORLD: I SPENT MUCH OF THIS WEEK ALONG THE MISSOURI RIVER IN NEBRASKA, IOWA AND KANSAS. IT WAS AN UNNERVING EXPERIENCE. WHILE I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN FLOODS BEFORE, THE IDEA OF A THREE-MONTH INUNDATION OF THAT MAGNITUDE IS MIND-BOGGLING. IN FACT, THERE IS NO CLEAR IDEA WHEN THE WATERS WILL RECEDE. MEANWHILE WHEN I CALLED BACK HOME, REPORTS FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY ABOUT WHAT THE LACK OF WATER HAD DONE TO OUR CROPS WAS EQUALLY ALARMING. 2011 IS ANOTHER SEASON, IT SEEMS, OF EXTREMES. FARMERS ACROSS AMERICA WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A GOLDILOCKS SEASON - NOT TOO MUCH OF ANYTHING - FOR A CHANGE. BUT FOR WHAT I SUSPECT ARE ENDURING REASONS, MODERATE WEATHER MAY NOT BE THE RULE IN THE FUTURE. EXTREMISM IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY IN OUR CULTURE AS WELL, I'M AFRAID. I AM REMINDED OF THE DEPRESSING WORDS OF THE POET YEATS: THINGS FALL APART, THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD. INDEED OUR CENTER - THE FABLED AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS - IS DIVIDED INTO INCREASINGLY DISTANT FACTIONS. BUT THIS IS NOT A JEREMIAD OF LAMENT. I AM CONFIDENT WE WILL ONCE AGAIN COME TO RESPECT THE IMPORTANCE OF A MODERATE CENTER AS THE GREAT STRENGTH OF OUR POLITICAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE. IT MAY TAKE SOME DIFFICULT EXPERIMENTS WITH EXTREMISM FIRST, BUT THE PRAGMATIC POWER OF COMPROMISE HAS A LONG TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS. JUST AS PRODUCERS ARE ADAPTING WITH INNOVATIVE WORK-AROUNDS TO EXTREME WEATHER, WE CAN MITIGATE CULTURAL EXTREMISM WITH INDIVIDUAL DECISIONS TO BUILD, TO UNITE AND TO ADVANCE.

2ND HALF:
JOHN’S OPEN:
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. FOOD PRICE INFLATION IS GETTING INTENSE SCRUTINY BY THE MEDIA, ECONOMISTS, AND SHOPPERS - AND FOR GOOD REASON. IT HAS NOW JOINED HIGHER EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE AS THE BIGGEST PAINS IN THE POCKETBOOK. IN FACT, VIRTUALLY ALL OTHER EXPENDITURES ARE TRENDING DOWN OR SIDEWAYS. IT IS ALWAYS CONVENIENT FOR PRODUCERS TO POINT TO THE WEATHER OR OUR SHARE OF THE CONSUMER DOLLAR AS REASONS TO AVOID OUR SHARE OF THE BLAME, BUT I'M NOT SURE THAT TACTIC WILL BE VERY EFFECTIVE. WE PRINTED UP TOO MANY BUMPER STICKERS TELLING FOLKS HOW WE ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE FOOD CHEAP. WE SHOULDN'T BE SURPRISED WHEN THEY DEDUCE WE THEREFORE MAKE IT EXPENSIVE. LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE HEADLINES AND AL PELL...

CROP SIZE: THANK YOU JOHN. THE HEAT AND SHORTAGE OF RAIN IN JULY HAS TAKEN A BIG BITE OUT OF THIS YEARS CORN CROP, AS WELL AS OTHER MAJOR CROPS. THE AG DEPARTMENT RELEASED ITS CROP FORECAST WHICH IS BASED ON SURVEYS WITH FARMERS. USDA SAYS THE NATION'S AVERAGE CORN YIELD DROPPED NEARLY SIX BUSHELS FROM ITS FORECAST IN JULY TO 153 BUSHELS AN ACRE. THE AGENCY SAYS U.S. FARMERS WILL HARVEST 12.9 BILLION BUSHELS OF CORN. THAT'S A HALF BILLION SMALLER THAN EXPECTED. THE AG DEPARTMENT SAYS THERE'LL BE A MUCH SMALLER COTTON CROP AS WELL BECAUSE OF THE SOUTHERN DROUGHT, ESPECIALLY IN TEXAS WHICH LEADS THE NATION IN COTTON PRODUCTION.

COUPON USE: NOT THAT YOU NEED A REMINDER ABOUT THE STRUGGLING ECONOMY, BUT HERE'S ANOTHER INDICATOR - COUPON USE AT THE CHECKOUT. NEW DATA SHOWS USE IS UP 18 FROM TWO YEARS AGO. SO FAR THIS YEAR, SHOPPERS HAVE USED 1.7 BILLION COUPONS -- SAVING CONSUMERS ABOUT TWO BILLION DOLLARS. THAT'S AHEAD OF THE SAME POINT IN 2009 AND 2010 -- YEARS THAT SAW A RECORD NUMBER OF COUPONS HIT THE MARKETPLACE. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE FEWER COUPONS OUT THERE, MORE AMERICANS ARE REDEEMING THEM.
THE RESEARCHERS AT VALASSIS SAY A NEED FOR 'VALUE' IS DRIVING MORE SHOPPERS TO BE SAVVY-DEAL SEEKERS.

SCHOOL LUNCH: MANY OF US PACK SACK LUNCHES FOR OUR CHILDREN AS THEY HEAD-OFF TO SCHOOL. IT MAY BE AN INEXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE TO THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM. BUT THERE IS SOME RISK ASSOCIATED WITH SENDING HOMEPACKED LUNCHES - ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE NOT PROPERLY COOLED. RESEARCHERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEASURED THE TEMPERATURE OF SACK LUNCHES OF 700 PRE-SCHOOLERS AT NINE TEXAS CHILD CARE CENTERS. 39% OF THE LUNCHES HAD NO ICE PACKS. 45% HAD AT LEAST ONE ICE PACK. 88% WERE FOUND AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. AND THIS WAS 90 MINUTES BEFORE LUNCH TIME! WHEN YOU ANALYZE THE DATA, FEWER THAN 2% OF THE LUNCHES WITH PERISHABLE ITEMS WERE FOUND TO BE IN A SAFE TEMPERATURE ZONE. EVEN LUNCHES WITH ICE PACKS WERE NOT COMPLETELY SAFE.

SOY ASTHMA: THE AVERAGE ASTHMA PATIENT SPENDS THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR IN MEDICAL COSTS TO CONTROL IT. BUT A NEW NATIONAL STUDY IS UNDERWAY TO TEST AN INEXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE. IN THIS REPORT FROM OHIO STATE MEDICAL CENTER, CLARK POWELL SAYS THOSE PATIENTS MAY WANT TO THANK A SOYBEAN FARMER! CLARK SAYS THE SOY STUDY WILL INCLUDE ASTHMA PATIENTS WHO ARE AT LEAST TWELVE YEARS OLD. IT'LL BE CONDUCTED IN A DOZEN STATES. RESULTS ARE EXPECTED IN A COUPLE OF YEARS.

HEARTLAND MINI RODEO: THE ROUGH AND TUMBLE WORLD OF RODEO IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. SO HOW DO YOU GET THE NEXT GENERATION READY? GALEN CULVER FROM KFOR-TV IN OKLAHOMA CITY SAYS A MINI-RODEO IS A GOOD PLACE TO START. NEXT WEEK...WE TRAVEL THE DUSTY ROADS OF KANSAS WHERE ONE CATTLE RANCHER TRADES-IN HER BOOTS FOR A PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES AND THEY TAKE HER DOWN THE LONG ROAD OF HEALTHIER LIVING.

BAXTER BLACK: THIS WEEK, BAXTER BLACK PLAYS THE ROLE OF "DEAR ABBY" FOR A DOG-OWNER. HERE'S HIS ADVICE COLUMN. WHEN WE COME BACK, TRACTOR TALES AND OUR COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE...PLEASE STAY WITH US.

TRACTOR TALES: AL'S BACK NOW. Al, TRACTOR AUCTIONS ALWAYS SEEM TO DRAW AN ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD. YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT THAT, JOHN. JUST LAST WEEK WE SPENT SOME TIME AT A TRACTOR AUCTION IN SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WATCH TRACTOR TALES, BE SURE TO HEAD TO OUR WEBSITE WWW.USFARMREPORT.COM. AND NOW YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THESE SEGMENTS AS PODCASTS FROM I-TUNES. JUST GO TO THE I-TUNES STORE AND SEARCH TRACTOR TALES.

CHURCH SALUTE: TODAY'S CHURCH SALUTE GOES TO THE FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN JACKSON, MICHIGAN. IT'S BEEN AROUND FOR 180 YEARS! THE CURRENT NEO-GOTHIC-STYLE BUILDING WAS BUILT IN 1922. JERRY AND BARBARA SURBROOK FROM GRAND VALLEY FARMS SENT US THE PHOTO. THEY ADMIT, THEIR CHURCH IS NOT IN THE COUNTRY. BUT THEY SAY ITS PARISHONERS ALWAYS ASK HOW THINGS ARE GOING ON THE FARM. SOME MEMBERS HAVE TAKEN THEIR CHILDREN TO THE FARM TO LEARN ABOUT AGRICULTURE. THEY SAY PASTOR ED ROSS IS A FARM-BOY, HAVING BEEN RAISED ON A DAIRY AND SHEEP FARM. THANKS FOR SHARING THE STORY. AS ALWAYS WE WANT TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR HOME CHURCH AS WELL... SALUTES CAN BE SENT TO THE ADDRESS ON THE SCREEN. STAY WITH US - THE MAILBAG IS NEXT.

MAILBAG: TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....I GET AN E-MAIL LIKE THIS EVERY FEW WEEKS, AND I KNOW I HAVE ANSWERED BEFORE, BUT IT OBVIOUSLY DESERVES REPEATING. FROM PARIS KAMHOLTZ: "I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT I HAVE WANTED TO DO IN THE FUTURE, AND AFTER SEEING YOUR SHOW, THE U.S. FARM REPORT, I'VE GIVING SERIOUS THOUGHT IN BECOMING A FARMER, WHERE SHOULD I START?" FIRST, I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CLARIFY WHAT BEING A FARMER MEANS. IT IS MUCH LESS LIKE A JOB, AND MUCH MORE LIKE STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS. SECONDLY, FARMING NECESSARILY DEPENDS ON ACCESS TO VERY EXPENSIVE LAND. FINALLY, COMPETITION TO FARM IS INTENSE, ESPECIALLY NOW, WHEN WE ARE ONE BRIGHT SPOT IN A DISMAL ECONOMY. CONSEQUENTLY, THE GREATEST DETERMINANT OF BECOMING IS SUCCESSFUL FARMER IS TO HAVE SUCCESSFUL FARMING PARENTS. OR TO MARRY SOMEONE WHO DOES. WE ARE IN SOME SENSE MORE AN AGRISTOCRACY THAN MERITOCRACY. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THERE IS NO LONGER A VIABLE PATH FOR ENTRY LEVEL TO FULL MEMBERSHIP IN FARMING OUTSIDE FAMILY LINES, OR LOTTERY-LIKE LUCK, WITH TWO EXCEPTIONS. ONE IS HIGH-VALUE, AGRARIAN FARMS, WHERE HOW SOMETHING IS GROWN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRICE, AND HIGH MARGINS ARE GENERATED BY HIGH LABOR INPUTS. THE SECOND IS ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS WITH LARGER OPERATIONS LEADING TO MANAGEMENT AND OWNERSHIP RIGHTS. IT IS NO LONGER ENOUGH TO SIMPLY HAVE DESIRE AND A WORK ETHIC. THE DREAM OF A YOUNG FARMER STARTING SMALL AND STEADILY EXPANDING IS AN UNLIKELY POSSIBILITY. AS ALWAYS, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU, SEND COMMENTS TO MAILBAG@USFARMREPORT.COM OR LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL AT 800-792-4329.

 

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