THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
MARCH 3-4, 2012
AL’S OPEN: Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I'm Al Pell. John Phipps is on assignment at Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee. We'll hear from John, later in the show. We have plenty to cover, so let's get straight to headlines. And for that, here's Tyne Morgan.
COMMODITY CLASSIC: Thank you Al, and hello everyone. Commodity Classic is wrapping up this weekend and just like many other farm shows this year, attendance was at record levels. More than 5,600 people were at the classic, which was held at Gaylord Opryland Resort. In addition to the trade show and educational forums, Commodity Classic allows commodity associations to hold their annual meetings. Members of the corn, soy, sorghum and wheat grower groups come together and set policy for the upcoming year. A big topic this year is the farm bill. Since it's an election year, there are questions whether the legislation will get addressed. This year's keynote speaker was Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.
SOUTHEAST LAND VALUES: While farmland values have seen a double digit boom across the Midwest. New data from the southeast shows that's not the case in that region. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released its latest survey of area Ag bankers. That district is reporting good farmland prices in the third quarter are down 4.5% from last year. Prices averaged just over 3,200 dollars an acre. The surveyed-bankers expect land values to continue to weaken.
WINTER WHEAT: In other news above normal temperatures along with adequate rain are helping the overall Kansas winter wheat crop. The monthly NASS reports shows half of the crop is good to excellent. Better than a third is fair. There's also good reports from Oklahoma where two-thirds of the state's wheat crop is called good to excellent. In Texas, about a third of the wheat crop is good to excellent. A quarter is fair. In Montana, NASS says warm and windy conditions over the past month have driven-down the condition. Winter wheat condition is rated 24% good to excellent compared to 71% a year ago.
TORNADO OUTLOOK: A devastating storm charged through the lower Midwest and south this week, causing damage in six states from Kansas to Kentucky. At least 13 people died. It's a rough start to the spring-storm season. www.accuweather.com released its tornado forecast for 2012. Their weather experts anticipate an active tornado season again this year. In 2011, there were more than 1,700 tornadoes recorded and it ranks as the fourth deadliest season on record. Accuweather expects an above-normal tally this year due in part, to warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
CROP WATCH: In Crop Watch, in many regions of the country, farmers are hoping for spring showers. A farmer in Chapin, Illinois says they've done a lot of tiling since harvest. And one thing is for sure - it's very dry. He says they'll be starting out short on water. And in Northampton, PA, a farmer says a neighbor was disking some corn stalks last week. And in Dooly County, Georgia, a farmer says this year is starting out like 2011. It's very dry. And winter wheat is probably two-to-three weeks ahead.
ROUND TABLE: We have another jam packed taping of the U.S. Farm Report marketing round table here at the Commodity Classic in Nashville. Chip takes the floor and guides the discussion. Let's talk bean market first. February was very good for soybeans, South American crop problems, China came in with demand. Where do we go from here? We have a nice one as you said and part is in the February time frame, try to buy some acres back we were trying to buy some of the acres. What I really believe is happening is we have seen certainly the weather in brazil, we have had China demand, I don't believe it's quite as great as some would lead us to believe but we have been trying to buy the acres. Now, the general idea is there is going to be a shift of acres from soybean into corn and we will beef up the corn acres. I believe it's more of a migration. I think we will see a migration of acres from cotton into rice and wheat into beans and corns. Do soybeans have to go any higher? I think they have done a pretty good job. Let's talk corn market with Alan. Cash market has been very strong. The basis are well above the three year average. What is the reason there? Why is the cash market trying to lead the futures market up? The corn is fairly tight hands, the grain stalks tighter than a year ago. Five to 6% in a lot of areas, lot of states, debatable the board may be too cheap, relative to what the market demands to clear the grain. If you look for spread you can see there is almost no carry out to July. The markets opinion is you should sell the cash today. Now of course the market is not always right about the price but it's telling you there is no return of storage if you want to speculate on price, re-own it on paper. Okay. So let's look forward to the year ahead, are we going to get those 94 million acres, 95 million acres of corn out there like mark was talking about? I think so. I think first of all, the price stands at 94 million acres. We have been talking it for months. It's a lot less than a year ago. It's more profitable From where it was last fall. And product is slipping. It tells you that the biggest shift when the weather was so ideal that the ground could get work and fertilizer. As we go into spring, beware La Nina is fading fast and on top of it though we have the north Atlantic oscillation and the arctic oscillation still in motion and we are going to have an unusual spring and summer. Absolutely. We have lots of volatility and that weather will determine the USDA projection is for the national average yield. I believe we can go over 164. We have had two years. We have done it so many times before, why not now? That tells me the odds are against it being lower trend line yields. If we grow trend line yield on 94, 95 million acres of corn we are looking at choking on corn and the ethanol glut we have it'll be a lot of grain. That's a good point. The ethanol situation. We have been sending a lot of corn to the ethanol. That would be true at this time.
JOHN’S WORLD: We wrap things up this half hour with "john's world". For that, we return to Commodity Classic in Nashville. Let us know what you think.... Send emails to email@example.com or call and leave a voice mail.
AL’S OPEN: Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I'm Al Pell. In for John Phipps. John's at Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee. We'll hear from him later. They have a record attendance at the show. And according to our staff there, there's a feeling of optimism in much of the grain sector. Let's get started with the headlines and Tyne Morgan.
HORSE SLAUGHTER: Thank you Al. And hello everyone. The idea of processing horse for meat is not widely accepted in this country. But it is part of diets in Europe and Asia. And now a company wants to open such a plant in southern Missouri. Horse-meat processing stopped in 2007 in this country after congress took away funding for inspections. Last November President Obama signed into law a spending bill that restores the American horse-slaughter industry. Unified Equine hopes to build a processing plant near Mountain Grove, Missouri. It would be the first facility in the country to open since the law went into effect. Wallis says in a poor economy, many owners find they can no longer afford to care for their horses. Some turn to places like sale barns, others to horse rescues. Wallis believes horse slaughter in the U.S. would cut down on the number of neglected and malnourished horses.
AG GAG BILL: In a push-back against animal activists, both houses of the Iowa Legislature have now passed a so-called "Ag Gag Law". The law would make it a crime to shoot undercover video on a farm in the state. Iowa is the first state in the country to take this step. Supporters of the bill say farming operations need protection against people who lie to get jobs, then secretly record scenes inside livestock facilities. Critics say the bill violates the constitution and went too far. We've seen undercover video before. It's often used by animal rights groups to expose what they call "animal abuse". Supporters of the bill say farming operations need protection against people who lie to get jobs, then secretly record scenes inside livestock facilities. The measure says a person cannot enter a farm operation under false pretenses or lie on an employment form. Critics say the bill violates the constitution and went too far.
MILITARY JOBS: USDA is joining forces with the American Legion to help find jobs for Americans who served our country. The two groups signed a formal agreement. The idea is to help veterans and military service members who are exiting the military to find Ag related jobs. USDA says it will let the veterans know about programs it offers to new farmers. The Ag Department says about six million veterans live in rural communities, which is a higher concentration than anywhere else in the country.
HEARTLAND: Woodland owners are constantly looking for a way to maximize income from the land. For those who are lucky enough to have maple trees, syrup production is possibility. Jeff Franklin with the University of Kentucky introduces us to a couple tapping their trees for the first time. According to the extension service, one tap-hole can produce anywhere from five to 15 gallons of sap. And you'll need it because it takes ten gallons of sap to make just one quart of syrup.
CATTLEMEN CAGE RULE: There's a bill in congress that would change how commercial egg producers house their birds. The bill is based on an agreement between the animal rights group, humane society of the United States and the trade organization, united egg producers. The United Egg Producers worked with the Humane Society of the United States last year to introduce a bill to set standards on egg production. Under the proposed legislation, egg producers would be required to move from standard cages to new enriched cages, allowing more space for each laying hen. Livestock groups, such as the National Cattleman's Beef Association, are concerned the legislation would go beyond the hen house. NCBA says it is completely against working with HSUS when they say its sole purpose is to run cattle producers out of business.
CAGE LAW: The man who sat down with HSUS to develop the rule - which is the basis of the legislation - is an Indiana egg producer. Tyne Morgan visited Bob Krouse at his farm in North Manchester, Indiana. Just last week, the executive board of the American Veterinary Medical Association came out in favor of the legislation. A spokesman for the group says the welfare of the animals is the most important factor. But it does have "significant" concerns about the implications of establishing federal oversight for animal housing. When we come back, tractor tales and our country church salute...please stay with us.
TRACTOR TALES: In this week's Tractor Tales, we're headed to Arizona. The owner of this 1965 Oliver grew up in Kansas...but as you'll see, it doesn't matter where he lives - as long as he can hear his tractor running. For more Tractor Tales, head to our home page, www.usfarmreport.com or find us on Facebook. You can also download segments as podcasts from iTunes.
CHURCH SALUTE: Today's Country Church Salute goes to St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown, Montana. Located in the central part of the state, Lewistown has a rich farming and ranching tradition. In the late 1800's, worship services were held in various homes. But just before the turn of the 20th century, a cornerstone was laid for the first church. It was constructed by local trades’ people using sandstone. St. James is known as the 'little stone church with the beautiful vines'. Those vines came from England in the 1920's. It's now listed on the national list of historic places. Our thanks to Betts Stroh for sharing the news about St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown, Montana. 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.
ASK JOHN ANYTHING: As always, our final word comes courtesy of John Phipps. But instead of the routine Mailbag, we're trying something new - "Ask John Anything". He joins us again from Nashville and the 2012 Commodity Classic. Thanks John. As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.