USFR Weekly Recap - July 28-29, 2012

July 28, 2012 09:43 AM




JULY 28-29, 2012



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m Al Pell in for John Phipps. Just when we think the drought has bottomed out, we get new government data that further reminds us just how precious - and welcome - a good summer rain would be. My farm is smack dab in the heart of the Indiana drought. While we did get some rain this week, it's just a fraction of what those parched fields need. Still, as a producer, I know that's part of the business.


Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six drought-impacted states as primary natural disaster areas this week. So far, nearly 14-hundred counties in 31 states have that declaration. As far as the crops - there was a three point decline in the condition rating of the soybean crop.  31% is good to excellent. And we saw another big drop in corn. Just a quarter of the crop is good to excellent. That's another five point decline. One of the most telling points of the USDA report is that a fourth state has now been added to the list with single digit quality in their cornfields. Illinois joins that dubious list along with Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. USDA says none of the Illinois corn crop would be called "excellent" this week and just 7% is good. There's a new call to limit the amount of the nation's corn in the nation's fuel supply. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland introduced a bill that would link the corn ethanol production mandate - under the renewable fuel standards - to the size of the corn crop. Cardin represents many poultry producers in his home state of Maryland.  Poultry, as well as livestock, producers are feeling the effects of higher feed costs associated with the drought. And to help livestock producers, USDA is making additional changes to the conservation reserve program. Ag secretary Vilsack says his department is further expanding the use of CRP acres for emergency grazing and haying. He says any county that's listed by the U.S. drought monitor as being in 'abnormally dry" areas or worse. Would now qualify for emergency use. Before, it was limited to counties in the "severe drought" category. Haying and grazing will be allowed once the local primary nesting season has passed.


Cropwatch begins in Union County, Kentucky - that's in the northwest corner near Indiana. A farmer says his corn has had it. He hopes for 60 bushels to the acre. He says soybeans won't make 10 bushels unless they get rain soon. Keep the faith, he adds.


It's time to talk markets with Thomas Grisafi and Greg Milkovich.


John is off this week - taking a break from what has become a stressful season on the farm.  Like most farmers in the Midwest, John is suffering from "drought on the brain".



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m Al Pell in for John Phipps. The last time the Department of Agriculture conducted a census, it found some striking numbers in the growing number of women who rule the farm. Of the 3 million U.S. farm operators, a third are women. That's an increase of 19%. And why not, many of the market analysts who appear on this show tell me that women are better at making marketing decisions. It appears the trend of women as principal operators will continue for the next generation. We'll have details in a moment. But our top story is the lingering drought. Let's get started with the headlines and Tricia Sloma, filling in for Tyne Morgan.


The lingering Midwest drought is having an impact on main street in farm country. The mighty Mississippi is also struggling with the drought. That's a far cry from a year ago. The number of young women entering college to study agriculture far surpasses the number of men. USDA looked at the enrollment at 70 land-grant universities. How do you celebrate your birthday? With a cake of course. And in the buckeye state the cake is made with butter, lots of it.


Long known for raising cattle, there's much more than beef in the lone-star state.  In fact, look close enough and you can find camels dotting the Texas landscape. As Nathan Smith tells us in this report from the Texas Farm Bureau, dry weather and summer heat makes these desert dwellers feel right at home.


As a large animal veterinarian, Baxter Black faces some unique challenges, especially during "the fall run" - his busiest time of the year.


Welcome back...this week's tractor is a classic from Case.


Today's country church salute takes us to rock, West Virginia where members of Mountain Grove Baptist Church are celebrating their 75th anniversary. A group of families met in August 1937 at the local school house to organize the church. Reverend Al Basher was named to lead the congregation. Edgar Parker donated the land where the church was to be built and still stands today. Reverend Grover Jones currently leads the membership. Our thanks to Arnold Parker for sharing the story.


Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report mailbag...John received a letter about drought in-the-news.

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As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.




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