USFR Weekly Recap - February 19-20, 2011

February 22, 2011 03:06 AM
 

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE #1958
FEBRUARY 19-20, 2011

JOHN’S OPEN: HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. WELL, IT WASN'T QUITE A DRUNKEN-SAILOR ATMOSPHERE, BUT OPTIMISM WAS ABUNDANT ALONG WITH AN APPETITE FOR TECHNOLOGY AND POWER AT THE NATIONAL FARM MACHINERY SHOW THIS WEEK. TEMPERATURES IN THE SEVENTIES ONLY ADDED TO THE EXCITEMENT. I WAS CERTAINLY NO EXCEPTION, AS I WAITED FOR A HALF-HOUR JUST TO GET AN ESTIMATE FOR A NEW WORKSHOP I HAVE LONG DESIRED. NOT FOR MYSELF, OF COURSE, BUT FOR SOMETHING TO WHICH I CAN ATTACH A NEW GREENHOUSE FOR JAN. SPRING FEVER HAS MANY SYMPTOMS, I GUESS, AND OBVIOUSLY SOME OF THEM ARE ECONOMIC. TIME NOW FOR THE HEADLINES.....HERE'S TRICIA SLOMA.

AG EXPORTS: THANKS JOHN...THE EXPORT OUTLOOK FOR AMERICAN AGRICULTURE IS ONLY GETTING BRIGHTER. THE USDA REPORTS EXPORT SALES TOTALLED NEARLY 116-BILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR...AN ALL-TIME HIGH ECLIPSING THE 2008 RECORD BY NEARLY A BILLION DOLLARS. THE AG DEPARTMENT REPORTS A RISE IN BOTH THE VALUE AND VOLUME OF EXPORTS IN 2010. SOYBEANS TOPPED THE LIST, WITH MORE THAN HALF OF THE ORDERS COMING FROM CHINA. AS A RESULT, CHINA IS NOW THE TOP EXPORT MARKET FOR U.S. AGRICULTURE...OVERTAKING CANADA FOR THE FIRST TIME.

DAIRY PRODUCTION: DESPITE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES FOR THE DAIRY INDUSTRY, THE USDA EXPECTS MILK PRODUCTION TO INCREASE OVER THE NEXT DECADE. NEW NUMBERS SHOW BY THE YEAR 2020, U.S. MILK PRODUCTION IS EXPECTED TO RISE NEARLY 16%. AT THE SAME TIME, THE NUMBER OF COWS IS EXPECTED TO DIP BY ROUGHLY 300,000 HEAD. THE USDA PREDICTS MILK PRICES WILL CLIMB TO MORE THAN 18.5 PER HUNDRED-WEIGHT OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS.

DEERE PROFITS: ALSO THIS WEEK - JOHN DEERE REPORTS A FIRST QUARTER PROFIT OF MORE THAN 500-MILLION-DOLLARS...DOUBLE WHAT IT DID A YEAR AGO. FOR ITS AG DIVISION, SALES WERE UP 21%. THE COMPANY SAYS MANY FARMERS TOOK ADVANTAGE OF ROBUST CORN PRICES WHICH HAVE DOUBLED SINCE JUNE. DEERE SAYS PRODUCTION CONSTRAINTS TIED TO THE NEW TIER-4 ENGINES WILL ALLOW FOR ONLY MODEST GROWTH IN THE MONTHS AHEAD.

NFMS: THE VERY LATEST IN FARM EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY WAS ON DISPLAY THIS WEEK AT THE 46TH NATIONAL FARM MACHINERY SHOW IN LOUISVILLE. THE EVENT, WHICH WRAPS UP THIS WEEKEND, IS THE NATION'S LARGEST INDOOR FARM SHOW. AS THEY DO EACH YEAR, THOUSANDS OF FARMERS MADE THE TRIP TO CHECK OUT ROW AFTER ROW OF IRON AND INNOVATION.

ROUNDTABLE: GREGG HUNT AND MARK GOLD

JOHN’S WORLD: I WAS MAKING A HALF-BUSINESS, HALF-SOCIAL VISIT TO MY SMALL BANK RECENTLY WHEN AN ODD EVENT UNFOLDED. AN OLDER GENTLEMAN STORMED FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IN OBVIOUS ANGER, MUTTERING LOUDLY. THE PRESIDENT IS A LIFELONG FRIEND, AND WHILE HER PROFESSIONALISM AND DISCRETION IS BEYOND REPROACH, I COULD NOT HELP COMMENTING ON THE INCIDENT. SHE INFORMED ME THAT WAS MERELY THE THIRD SUCH SCENE THIS WEEK, AND A NOW COMMON PART OF LOCAL BANKING. IT INVOLVED THE FLOOD OF SCAMS RANGING FROM LOTTERIES TO THE INFAMOUS NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. I WAS STUNNED TO FIND OUT IN OUR TINY TOWN, EXCITED NEIGHBORS ARE BRINGING IN REALISTIC CHECKS WEEKLY EXPECTING TO CASH THEM. THE LATEST WAVE HAS BEEN FROM CANADIAN BANKS. BANK OFFICIALS HAVE TIRELESSLY EXPLAINED THE CHECKS ARE WORTHLESS AND HAVE REFUSED TO WIRE THE REQUESTED FEES, INFURIATING CUSTOMERS WHO HAD JUST IMAGINED THEIR FINANCIAL PROBLEMS WERE SOLVED. ACTIONS LIKE THIS BUILD THE NEEDED CONFIDENCE IN OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM, NOT THE WHEELING AND DEALING AT THE LARGEST INSTITUTIONS. IN FACT BIG BANKS ARE UNDERMINING THIS PRECIOUS RESOURCE. GOOD BANKERS PROTECT DEPOSITORS AND CUSTOMERS WITH UNWAVERING TRUSTWORTHINESS. IT IS NEITHER VAULTS NOR LAWS THAT SAFEGUARD MY MONEY. IT IS PEOPLE OF CHARACTER AND CONSCIENCE IN MY BANK. LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.... SEND EMAILS TO MAILBAG@USFARMREPORT.COM OR CALL AND LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL.

2ND HALF:
JOHN’S OPEN:
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. THERE ARE THERMOMETERS IN OKLAHOMA WITH WHIPLASH I WOULD THINK, AS TEMPERATURES CLIMBED OVER 90 DEGREES IN A FEW DAYS. UP ALONG THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, THE IMMENSE SNOW PACK HAS OFFICIALS PREDICTING ANOTHER FLOODED SPRING FOR MANY.
IN MY PART OF THE WORLD, MOVING GRAIN BOGGED DOWN ALMOST OVERNIGHT AS ROCK-HARD GRAVEL ROADS THAWED TO MUSHY TRACKS. FOR ONCE MANY FARMERS REALIZED THE MONEY TO REPAIR SPRING DAMAGE SIMPLY WILL NOT FORTHCOMING FROM HARD PRESSED STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, AND ACTUALLY DID THE RIGHT THING. MEANWHILE ALL THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR CARWASH OWNERS. LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE HEADLINES AND TRICIA SLOMA.

FARM CENSUS: THANKS JOHN...IT APPEARS NUMBERS ARE HOLDING STEADY FOR AMERICAN AGRICULTURE. IN ITS ANNUAL CENSUS, THE AG DEPARTMENT REPORTS THERE WERE 2.2 MILLION FARMS IN THE U.S. LAST YEAR. AT THE SAME TIME, TOTAL FARM ACREAGE REACHED 920-MILLION, UP ABOUT 100,000 ACRES FROM 2009. THE REPORT ISN'T AS PROMISING FOR LIVESTOCK. DAIRY OPERATIONS DIPPED BY 4% AND HOG FARMS WERE DOWN BY ABOUT 3%.

CLOTHING PRICES: PRICES ARE UP AT THE GROCERY STORE AND THE GAS PUMP...AND IT LOOKS LIKE CLOTHES ARE NEXT. BLAMING HIGHER INPUT COSTS AND INCREASING DEMAND, ANALYSTS EXPECT CLOTHING PRICES WILL CLIMB 10% THIS YEAR. PRICES HAVE BEEN ON THE DECLINE FOR THE LAST DECADE, THANKS TO CHEAP OVERSEAS LABOR, TAME INFLATION AND FABRIC BLENDS. WHILE COTTON PRICES ARE UP 160% FROM A YEAR AGO, THE NATIONAL COTTON COUNCIL SAYS MANY FACTORS COMBINE TO DRIVE PRICES HIGHER. RETAILERS EXPECT A MAJORITY OF THE PRICE INCREASE TO SHOW UP IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR.

FARMER’S AND ARTHRITIS: EACH AND EVERY YEAR, MORE THAN A MILLION AMERICAN'S ARE DIAGNOSED WITH ARTHRITIS. NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS IT'S NOT JUST AGING BABY BOOMERS WHO ARE AT RISK. IN AN EFFORT TO GET A GRIP ON THE DISEASE, DOCTORS ARE REACHING OUT TO EVERYONE FROM FARMERS - TO TEXTERS. CLARK POWELL SHOWS US HOW IN THIS REPORT FROM THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER. BY 2030, EXPERTS PREDICT 67-MILLION AMERICAN'S WILL HAVE ARTHRITIS. THAT'S IT FOR NEWS...TIME NOW FOR THE NATIONAL FORECAST FROM METEOROLOGIST MIKE HOFFMAN.

HEARTLAND: WHEN IT COMES BIRD-SEED, SALES ARE SOARING. CONSIDER THIS...STATISTICS SHOW BIRD-WATCHING IS SECOND ONLY TO GARDENING WHEN IT COMES TO OUTDOOR HOBBIES. AND AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, WHEN SNOW BLANKETS MUCH OF THE HEARTLAND, SEED SALES ARE BRISK. STEVE GRANT FROM AFFILIATE KYTV IN SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI PROFILES A COMPANY THAT SUPPLIES THE INGREDIENTS TO KEEP BIRDS. . . AND BIRD-WATCHERS. . .HAPPY. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT THIS COMPANY HAS TO OFFER, HEAD ONLINE TO WWW.PENNINGTONSEED.COM .

AG AND EPA: ON SOME FARMS, THE EPA CAN AT TIMES BE A FOUR-LETTER WORD. BUT LIKE IT OR NOT, THE TWO MUST WORK TOGETHER - ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO HOT-BUTTON ISSUES SUCH AS REGULATING GREEN-HOUSE GASES. AS REGIONAL REPORTER MICHELLE ROOK EXPLAINS, THE NEW-LOOK CONGRESS COULD ONCE AGAIN ALTER THIS RELATIONSHIP. THANKS MICHELLE. WHEN WE COME BACK, IT'S TIME FOR TRACTOR TALES AND OUR COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE...PLEASE STAY WITH US.

TRACTOR TALES: TRACTOR TALES THIS WEEK TAKES US TO THE SUN-SHINE STATE. THERE WE FOUND A CLASSIC FORD 2,000 WITH A UNIQUE COLOR. WE FOUND THIS TRACTOR AT PIONEER PARK DAYS IN ZOLFO SPRINGS, FLORIDA. THIS YEAR'S EVENT IS SET FOR MARCH 2ND THROUGH THE 6TH.

CHURCH SALUTE: TODAY ON COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE WE HONOR ST JAMES LUTHERAN CHURCH IN REYNOLDS, INDIANA. THE CHURCH WAS ORGANIZED IN 1855 BY VISITING PASTORS FROM LAFAYETTE AND LOGANSPORT. THE FIRST CHURCH HOME WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1867 IN THE NORTH PART OF THE GROWING TOWN. THE CONGREGATION ALSO RAN A PAROCHIAL SCHOOL IN THE SAME BUILDING. IN 1879 A NEW FRAME BUILDING WAS NEEDED TO ACCOMMODATE THE GROWING CONGREGATION. AGAIN IN 1929, MORE ROOM WAS NEEDED AND THE PRESENT CHURCH WAS COMPLETED. IT WAS DEDICATED THE FOLLOWING YEAR. THE SCHOOL CONTINUED UNTIL 1937. THE CONGREGATION COMPRISES 349 MEMBERS. THE CURRENT PASTOR IS REVEREND CHARLES BLAKEY. THE INFORMATION WAS SENT TO US BY DELOS PASS. PLEASE SHARE THE STORY OF YOUR CHURCH WITH US... SALUTES CAN BE SENT TO THE ADDRESS ON THE SCREEN. STAY WITH US - THE MAILBAG IS NEXT.

MAILBAG: TIME TO HEAR FROM YOU VIA THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....
FRED LUNDGREN FROM KATY, TEXAS OBJECTS TO MY ANALYSIS ABOUT THE ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF SIZE FOR FARMS. "WHEN YOU ENCOURAGE INCREASED FARM SIZE, YOU'RE TELLING THE LARGEST FARMERS THAT IT'S OK TO PUSH THEIR SMALLER NEIGHBORS OFF THE LAND." FRED, I HAVE HEARD THIS COMPLAINT BEFORE, AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE WORDS CAREFULLY. YOUR PHRASE "PUSH SMALLER NEIGHBORS OFF THE LAND" IS NOT WHAT I SAID NOR WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING. "PUSH" IMPLIES THE USE OF FORCE OR INTIMIDATION. BUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IS LARGE OPERATIONS OFTEN BID MORE FOR LAND - EITHER TO BUY OR RENT - THAN SMALLER OPERATIONS, FOR THE REASONS I OUTLINED. THIS IS COMPETITION - NOT COERCION. MANY PRODUCERS EQUATE COMPETITION TO "PUSHING" IMPLYING THOSE WHO ARE NOW FARMING DESERVE TO KEEP FARMING. I DISAGREE. THE RIGHT TO FARM IS EARNED EVERY YEAR ON EVERY ACRE. IT IS ALSO PURCHASED WHEN YOU BUY THE DIRT. LANDOWNERS ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION - NOR SHOULD THEY BE - TO SETTLE FOR THE WAY THINGS HAVE BEEN. FARMERS - ESPECIALLY YOUNG FARMERS - ARE LINED UP TO FARM OUR LAND, AND THEIR RIGHTS ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM MINE. IN FACT, IF A LARGE OPERATOR CAN OUTBID ME FOR LAND IN MY TOWNSHIP, I CONSIDER THAT A PROBLEM WITH MY BUSINESS PLAN - NOT HIS. FARMING IS SUCH A DESIRABLE WAY OF LIFE AND BUSINESS THAT MANY ARE DESIRE IT. OUR FARMLAND DESERVES TO BE MANAGED BY THE BEST OF THEM. OPEN COMPETITION DELIVERS THAT RESULT MORE OFTEN THAN OTHER SELECTION METHODS. 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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