THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
MARCH 26-27, 2011
Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I'm Al Pell, in for John Phipps. As the weather begins to break across much of the corn belt, the desire to hit the fields has never been stronger. With commodity prices holding strong, the rush to put in the 20-11 crop is on. In just a few minutes, our team of analysts will tell us how the market-place will monitor planting very closely this spring - keeping a close eye on any potential hiccup. That's ahead...but first, let's get started with the headlines.
Iowa Farmland Values
New data showcases robust farm land values in the corn belt. A survey conducted by the realtor land institute shows the value for an acre of Iowa cropland has risen nearly 20-percent since September. For the year, they've climbed nearly 25-percent. According to the surveyors, these are the biggest increases ever reported by the r-l-i survey which has been around since 1978. The statewide average value of high quality cropland is just about 74-hundred dollars an acre. R-L-I says high quality, well-drained, productive farms continue to sell the best, but even medium and low quality cropland rose in value as well.
While impressive, these are not the biggest gains on farmland. Before R-L-I started its survey in 1978, Iowa State University reported increases of 30-percent in the early 1970's. The land value hikes are fueled by strong commodity prices.
DDG Corn Reporting
While livestock producers watch corn prices erode margins, some believe the ethanol industry isn't getting enough credit for a bi-product that feeds livestock around the world. A coalition of 34 governors is asking USDA secretary Tom Vilsack to adjust its reporting of corn used for ethanol. The group says the USDA reports don't give the industry enough credit for distillers grains, which has become an important feed source for livestock. They say corn used for ethanol currently reports a gross usage number. They believe the numbers should also include a net figure.
RR Alfalfa Lawsuit
Environmental groups are challenging the USDA's decision to de-regulate round-up ready alfalfa. Attorneys for the "center for food safety" and "earthjustice" filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco. The groups argue the decision announced in January was unlawful. The genetically modified crop is engineered to be immune to the herbicide glyphosate. Attorneys for the groups say the usda failed to provide adequate oversight of biotech alfalfa. They also say the technology causes significant harm to the environment and conventional crops.
2nd half is a special edition of Farmers Feeding the World Campaign .