USFR Weekly Recap - November 5-6, 2011

November 7, 2011 07:57 AM

NOVEMBER 5-6, 2011

JOHN’S OPEN: Hello and welcome to U.S Farm Report, I’m Al Pell in for John Phipps who's trying to finish his fall harvest. We were just at John's farm and yes, he was working hard like many of you. John's duties put him with the grain cart. Or as he put it "promoted" to the grain cart. We'll hear from john later, but first here are the headlines and Tricia Sloma.

CROP PROGRESS: Thank you Al, and hello everyone. For the most part, America’s farmers are making good advances on the corn and soybean harvest this fall. In Potter County, South Dakota harvesters are running hard to bring-in the crop. USDA's latest crop progress report shows more than three-quarters of the nation's corn was harvested as of Monday. And only a little more than 10% of the soybean crop remained in the field. Both of those are well ahead of the five year average.

NO PROGRESS OHIO: Things are not going as well in the extreme eastern corn belt. We were near Bowling Green, Ohio which has seen four inches of rain in the past two weeks, 18% of the state's corn is harvested. The five year average is 55%. Once he gets back in the fields, Jeff thinks his corn yields could be quite good - 20 bushels an acre higher than last year.

MF GLOBAL: The financial industry is still feeling the fall-out from Monday’s news that MF Global filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy. MF Global is a major commodities trader. It was revealed Monday that MF Global held large positions in Europe’s debt. This week, the CME Group and other exchanges suspended MF Global from trading. Regulatory agencies are now investigating claims that MF Global violated a central tenet of futures brokerages - and that's to keep customer accounts separate from its own funds. Professor Matt Roberts is an agricultural economist at Ohio State University. He's also a visiting economist at the commodity futures trading commission, or CFTC. Roberts says people with accounts will be able to retrieve some of their investments. He says they're covered by the securities investor protection corporation, which is similar to FDIC, which protects bank customers.

CROP WATCH: In Crop Watch, a grower from Hancock County, Indiana will be glad to close the books on this growing season. He says he had the "worst corn yields ever". The producer says he actually saw the yield monitor read zero, although there were lots of corn stalks, just no ears on the stalks. In New York State it appears apple orchards fared pretty well after last weekend's snow-storm. The state's apple association says the bulk of the state's crop is grown in areas which received little snow. 91% of the crop is picked.

JOHN’S WORLD: Like many of you, john's trying to finish-up harvest. We stopped by his farm where he offers these comments about his role in the field. Let us know what you think.... Send emails to or call and leave us a voice mail.

Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I'm Al Pell in for John Phipps. John's trying to finish-up harvest on his farm. During the long days in the field, he's had some time to think about technology and how it's changed farming. And it's not just the technology on the combine or grain cart. We'll hear from him later. We have a full show you for, so let's get started with the headlines and Tricia Sloma.

JAPAN BEEF: Thank you Al. There could be some good news for u-s beef exports early next year. Japan appears close in further easing its restrictions on U.S. raised beef. The country stopped imports of all U.S. beef in 2003 due to an outbreak of BSE, or as it's more commonly known as mad-cow disease. In 2005, Japan eased their ban somewhat, by allowing U.S. beef from cattle aged 20 months or younger. And none of the product could contain bones. Now it appears Japan will raise the age limit to 30 months. And it appears that could happen in early 2012. Livestock marketing experts say such a move would reignite exports to Japan which have suffered since 2003.

JAPAN BEEF DERREL PEEL: Prior to 2003 Japan was America's largest beef buyer. Japan's domestic beef production dropped after this year’s tsunami which devastated a large portion of Japan's beef ranching region. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association says American producers have been losing one billion dollars a year in that could be reclaimed if the age restrictions are eased.

AMTRAK BIOBEEF: Amtrak says its venture into the cattle business has been a flying success. The company has been trying a cattle based biodiesel in its Heartland Flyer Train on runs from Texas to Oklahoma. Amtrak says it will likely begin fueling its entire fleet of locomotives with the fuel mixture if further testing continues to prove more efficient and economical. Amtrak received a grant to try the biodiesel which is made of diesel fuel and beef tallow - a derivative of cow fat. Amtrak says the B20 caused no more wear on the locomotive than traditional diesel fuels and no reduction in performance or reliability. The passenger carrier says the trains also operated below the EPA limits for this class of locomotive.

DAKOTA RIGHT TO FARM: In North Dakota, the state's Farm Bureau is hoping to make farming a constitutional right for residents there. North Dakota is the nation’s largest producer of about a dozen different crops. It's that production the state Farm Bureau wants to protect. The state Farm Bureau wants to prevent animal welfare groups like HSUS from enacting what farm bureau calls 'unreasonable regulations'. The group is trying to collect nearly 27,000 signatures to get a vote on amending the state's constitution to make farming a right. Some worry the amendment could actually hurt farmers - for example - by limiting property rights.

WFP DA SILVA: This year's World Food Prize winner and former president of Brazil just received his award for fighting hunger. Now he's in a fight for his life. The Brazilian leader has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Just last month, Luiz Inacio da Silva accepted the World Food Prize in Des Moines for his work in alleviating hunger in his home country of Brazil. Doctors say Lula will begin chemo therapy treatment after discovering a cancerous tumor in his throat. The 66 year old is attributed with lifting 21 million Brazilians out of poverty and helping modernize the nation's agricultural infrastructure.

HEARTLAND CANDYCOTS: Do you have a big bowl of Halloween candy still sitting around your house? It can be tough to avoid that sweet temptation. So imagine if that bowl was filled with "candy-cots!" Tracy Sellers of California Country TV takes us to one farm where a geneticist and his farming friend are growing nature's candy. It was 1792 when the first California apricots were harvested which had been planted years earlier by Spanish explorers. Today, the state grows about 17,000 acres of apricots, that's 90% of this nation's crop.

BAXTER BLACK: It's that time of year as ranchers round-up their herds from summer grazing. It can be hard work. Baxter Black has some thoughts on who's the best man for the job. Baxter returns in two weeks. Until then, check out his work online at When we come back, tractor tales and our country church salute...please stay with us.

TRACTOR TALES: When you think of tractors, you think of big tires, heavy-duty steel parts, and bucket-seats that sit-up high. But this week, we have a special treat. We introduce a Case Wheat Thresher from the early 1900's that's really big...for its size. Remember, you can watch some of your favorite tractor tales on or you can now download these segments as podcasts. Go to the iTunes store and search tractor tales.

CHURCH SALUTE: Today's Country Church Salute goes to the Estherville Lutheran Church in Estherville, Iowa. This year the church is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Back in 1860, seven families moved from Wisconsin to that part of Iowa. In the fall of 1861, a visiting pastor led the first service. In 1870, a full-time pastor received a divine call. He was paid 400 dollars, plus one hundred bushels of wheat and two hundred bushels of oats. Like today's farming, the congregation has changed over the years. But church member Ladonna Bergesen says they feel blessed. Our second church is also commemorating a big anniversary this weekend. The Salem Lutheran Church of Salisbury, Missouri is celebrating 150 years of ministry. It was established in November 1861 by a group of German settlers. Their present church was built in 1912. A special service will be held this weekend to mark the occasion. Reverend Laurence Carlson is the current pastor. Our thanks to Mary Hafmeister for sharing the story. 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.

MAILBAG: Harvest brings long hours in the cab of a combine and grain cart. And with the advances in technology, you often have time - and free hands - to play with your smart-phone, like John. 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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