USFR Weekly Recap - November 17-18, 2012

November 17, 2012 08:43 AM

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EPISODE # 2049

NOVEMBER 17-18, 2012  



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. Consider this headline: a national banking system is staggering under the weight of farm loans gone sour as farmland prices drop 30% over four years. It seems bankers were lending based on asset values rather than repayment capacity. For those of us of a certain age it sounds like an echo of the 80's in the U.S. But this is a Bloomberg report from this week about the situation in Denmark. While I do not think this is harbinger for American agriculture, it is surprising that bankers anywhere still fall into this trap, let alone a nation as savvy as Denmark. There is something about a bubble that overrides our brains, I guess.


The 2012 drought is having an impact on credit conditions, but it's apparently not impacting the demand for  good farmland. That’s the bottom line of a report from two key districts of the Federal Reserve Bank. Breaking it down by states, Iowa had the highest year-over- year increase in the Chicago fed district. And Nebraska was the highest in the Kansas City district. Despite some shrinking farm incomes. Tractor sales were strong last month according to the latest data from the association of equipment manufacturers. Their monthly flash report shows total tractor sales were up 29% from the same month last year. Year to date, they're up 10% over 2011. A House panel says former MF global CEO Jon Corzine caused most of the problems that caused the collapse of the brokerage firm.

Crop watch this week.


Al is in to talk markets with Joe Vaclavik and Iowa farmer Chris Barron.


As we head into Thanksgiving, many of you are facing the challenge of hosting family and friends, and surprise visitors in your home. And while menu planning and food preparation takes top importance, those of us who are now forbidden to enter the kitchen have our own plans to make.

At the top of the list is avoiding possible conversational awkwardness or outright acrimony by guiding the conversation onto relatively safe topics. My suggestion is to go with food. You will be busy overeating, after all, and food is something we farmers should frankly know a little more about. To begin with, you can't go wrong by asking the cook how any particular dish was prepared. My experience is this unexpected opportunity to recount the considerable effort required for special dishes will earn you mucho points, and may help you skip out on cleanup. It's like asking a golfer about his latest game, and will also give you time to concentrate on eating before the under twenty crowd cleans out your favorites. Food is also a path to happy recollection, as Aunt Mildred’s special sage dressing triggers warm remembrance of a loved one. It will require some homework, so you can dazzle with obscure knowledge like how mandarin oranges are peeled. Start Googling now. So when the conversation starts to drift toward the election or the deficit, simply exclaim loudly: "you know, candied yams aren't really yams."



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. China showed the world how to downsize government this week as they rolled out the new politburo standing committee. Instead of nine in the exclusive club, there are only seven at the top. The bad news is reform candidates did not do well in the secretive selection process, so issues like corruption, currency values and trade practices will probably change slowly, if at all. They do have one practice that is admirable, i think - a semi-official retirement age of 68. Also you have to admit the idea of changing leaders without any campaign commercials does have a certain appeal.


America’s second most populous city is taking a position that alarms beef producers and farmers.

A group of governors issued a warning about the risk of losing tax breaks for wind energy. Governors representing both sides of the political aisle are urging congress to renew an expiring subsidy. Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, a democrat say additional jobs will be lost without the government money. The production tax credit expires at the end of the year. It costs the federal government about a billion dollars a year. With Republican lawmakers looking to further tighten the budget belt, supporters of this tax credit face an uphill battle. Despite concerns that it will further lower water levels on the Mississippi River, the Corps of Engineers will proceed with plans to reduce flow from a South Dakota reservoir. The Corps says it will reduce the flow by 40% later this month. A trade group representing towboat and barge operators says the reductions will have a significant impact to water levels between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois. The American waterways council says barge traffic on the river could effectively come to a halt in early December. It was a tough year for many apple growers. An early spring warm up and subsequent freeze severely damaged many crops. Despite that, apple production nationwide remained strong.


Some youngsters have a dream of being a cowboy. But sometimes reality gets in the way of those dreams. That's the case for Doctor Don Goodman - a Veterinarian from Navasota, Texas. He like's working with beef cows, but don admits - he just wasn't a very good cowboy, so he took another career path. And as you'll find out in this special report we call "Vets on Call' his clients are glad he did.

Turkey time is getting close, while many of still get out the roasting pan, more and more Americans pull out a frier. But be careful if you.  State farm says more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. U.S. Fire departments respond to more than 1-thousand fires each year in which a deep frier is involved. That results in an estimated 15 million dollars in property damage.


In casseroles and pies, sweet potatoes will share space with the turkey next Thursday. Louisiana farmers harvested a good crop of this Thanksgiving mainstay. Tobie Blanchard has details in this report provided by the LSU Agcenter.


Al, as we both know not all green tractors are made by Deere. That’s right. Oliver made some mighty fine machines. We met a young collector from western Missouri who has a real passion for them.


Today's country church salute goes to the United Methodist Church of Castleford, Idaho. Located in Idaho’s magic valley, Castleford United Methodist is celebrating 100 years of ministry. The church started in September 1912. Back then, services were held on the second floor of the local mercantile store. It was obvious a church building was needed. In the late 1920's, the congregation built what they call a "basement" church. As the church grew, they decided to build a new sanctuary in 1960. Our thanks to Dean Kohntopp  who shared the church history. He's been a member for 53 years.


Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report mailbag. Loyal viewer Steve Wisniewski of Athens, Michigan brings up a growing concern.


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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