USFR Weekly Recap - September 3-4, 2011

September 7, 2011 07:01 AM
 

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE #1986
SEPTEMBR 3-4, 2011

JOHN’S OPEN: HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. IN WHAT WE HOPE WAS A PARTING SHOT, THE SUMMER OF 2011 HIT FARMERS WITH BOTH EXTREME HEAT AND TORRENTIAL RAINS BEFORE GIVING WAY TO METEOROLOGICAL FALL. FOR MANY OF US, GETTING WHATEVER WE HAVE OUT OF THE FIELD MAY BE THE ONLY RELIEF WE WILL GET FROM THIS PRODUCTION SEASON. BACK-TO-BACK DISAPPOINTING CROPS HAVE ENERGIZED PRICES, OF COURSE, BUT THERE IS A GROWING CONCERN THESE PRICE LEVELS ARE PROBABLY NOT SUSTAINABLE. A FEW OF US ARE STARTING TO QUESTION OUR PREVIOUS CONVICTION THAT YIELD CURVES WOULD ALWAYS POINT UP. TIME NOW FOR THE HEADLINES.....HERE'S AL PELL.

FARM PROGRESS: THANKS JOHN. FARMERS FROM ACROSS THE U.S. MADE THEIR WAY TO DECATUR ILLINOIS THIS WEEK FOR THE FARM PROGRESS SHOW. NOW IN ITS 58TH YEAR, PRODUCERS STOPPED BY FOR A QUICK LOOK BEFORE HARVEST KICKS OFF. IN THAT PART OF THE COUNTRY, FIELDS ARE DRYING DOWN AND YIELDS LOOK DISMAL. SOME LOCAL FARMERS SAY YOU HAVE TO GO BACK 30 YEARS TO FIND CROPS THAT LOOKS THIS BAD. MANY PLAN TO START HARVEST EARLY...AS SOON AS NEXT WEEK.

WHEAT CONCERNS: ALSO FROM THE FIELDS, THERE IS GROWING CONCERN ABOUT NEXT YEAR'S WINTER WHEAT CROP. BECAUSE OF CONTINUING DRYNESS AND DROUGHT IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS, MANY GROWERS ARE WORRIED ABOUT PLANTING A CROP THIS FALL. IN OKLAHOMA, FOR INSTANCE, THE "NASS" OFFICE SAYS PRODUCERS ARE READY TO PLANT...BUT WITH THE LACK OF MOISTURE, PLANTING IS ON HOLD. WITH NO MOISTURE, THE SEEDS WON'T GERMINATE. TOPSOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO DECLINE WITH 77 PERCENT RATED VERY SHORT. ANDERSON SAYS THE LONG-TERM FORECAST SHOWS LITTLE IMPROVEMENT AS FAR AS DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN OKLAHOMA, TEXAS AND SOUTHERN KANSAS.

ALFALFA: A NATURAL DISASTER OF ANOTHER SORT IS WREAKING HAVOC COAST TO COAST. HISTORIC DROUGHT IN THE SOUTHERN PLAINS IS PUSHING HAY PRICES TO RECORD OR NEAR RECORD LEVELS. WEATHER PROBLEMS, COMPETITION FROM OTHER HIGH PRICED CROPS AND LOW STOCKS ARE ALL FACTORS. DROUGHT IN TEXAS, NEW MEXICO, OKLAHOMA AND KANSAS HAS TIGHTENED SUPPLIES. USDA SAYS DAIRY QUALITY HAY IN SOUTHWESTERN KANSAS SOLD FOR ABOUT 280 DOLLARS A TON...LAST YEAR IT WAS CLOSER TO 130. THE SAME IS TRUE IN CALIFORNIA WHERE A COOL WET SPRING HURT YIELDS.

ROUNDTABLE: HERE AT THE FARM PROGRESS SHOW TODAY OUR ROUNDTABLE IS MADE UP OF GREG HUNT, BOB UTTERBACK, ALLEN RIGLER, AND ARLEN SUDERMAN. AND THE FIRST QUESTION THAT CAME UP FROM OUR AUDIENCE IS PRICES. WHO WANTS TO BEGIN? ARE THEY GOING TO GO UP? DOWN? OR ARE THEY GOING TO STAY? LET'S TALK ABOUT THEM REAL QUICKLY. GREG HUNT. WELL, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION, ISN'T IT? I'M A SOLD OUT FLAT RIGHT THIS SECOND JUST TO KEEP IT STRAIGHT. I'M JUST OBSERVING THE MARKET RIGHT NOW TO SEE IF THIS IS ANOTHER LEG UP OR HOW WE'RE GOING TO HOLD TOGETHER HERE, WATCHING THE PARTICIPANTS AND SEEING OPEN INTEREST, AND HOW THE COMMITMENT OF TRADERS PLAYS OUT. I THINK WE'RE IN THE BEGINNING STAGE --STAGES OF STARTING TO RATION. WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO START SEEING --THE CHICKEN GUY WOULD BE THE FIRST GUY I THINK IS ON THAT PAGE. AND THEN WE'LL SEE HOW THE RAMIFICATIONS OF BRAZIL YESTERDAY OR LAST NIGHT TAKING THEIR ETHANOL BLEND FROM 25 DOWN TO 20, HOW THAT'S GOING TO START ACTING ON PRICES. BUT RIGHT NOW, ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS I'M NOT SAYING IT CAN'T GO HIGHER RIGHT FROM HERE, BUT ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS I DON'T HAVE A CLUE ON WHAT THE NEXT DIRECTION IS ON THE MARKET ACTION THEY SEE RIGHT NOW. I SEE THE HEADS NODDING DOWN HERE. BOB, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE? I THINK BETWEEN THE OCTOBER SUPPLY AND BEFORE THE BIN DOORS SHUT, WE'LL SEE A MAJOR HIGH. I THINK THE FARMERS ARE GOING TO GET BULLISH, PUT THE GRAINS IN THE BIN AND HOLD IT TILL NEXT SUMMER. IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS, THE ODDS ARE PROBABLY 7/30 THAT WE'LL MOVE IN HIGHER. SHOULD A PRODUCER BE HOLDING THEIR GRAIN THIS YEAR? FUNDAMENTALLY, I WOULD CERTAINLY ARGUE FOR THAT. WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR IF THE FUNDS STAY OUT, WHICH THEY REMOVED A LOT OF MONEY IN THE MARKET RECENTLY BECAUSE OF WORRIES ABOUT WALL --BECAUSE OF WORRIES ABOUT WALL STREET. IF THE FED WOULD DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE INFLATIONARY IN THEIR SEPTEMBER MEETINGS AND ALLOW THE FUNDS TO STAY, WE THINK WE NEED TO BE BACK IN THE HARD ASSETS, YOU GET A QUICK 1 TO $2 SPIKE IF THIS MARKET REAL FAST. OVER ALL, LOOKING FOR AN OCTOBER SPIKE BOB, COME DOWN, AND THEN OUR PRIOR SURVEY IS INDICATING THAT WE'RE ONLY GOING TO ADD ABOUT A MILLION AND A HALF ACRES OF CORN THIS YEAR UNLESS WE GET A MUCH BIGGER PRICE INCENTIVE. I KNOW YOU WERE NODDING YOUR HEAD A WHILE AGO. WHAT'S HAPPENING ON PRICES IN YOUR MIND? BASICALLY WE'VE GOT SOME MODELS THAT SAY IF USDA STICKS WITH THAT SIX AVERAGE PRICE, THEN YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO GO UP. HAVING DONE THE CROP SURVEY, AND THE YIELD ESTIMATE, WE THINK THE CASH PRICE IS GOING TO GO UP AT LEAST FOR A WHILE 40 TO FIFTY CENTS FROM WHERE THEY WERE --40 TO $0.50. AND THAT RAISES OUR TARGETS BETWEEN WHERE WE THINK IT CAN GO BETWEEN NOW AND AUGUST OF 2012. I'M NOT QUITE AS SURE ABOUT THE OCTOBER HIGH. I THINK THE MARKET IS PRETTY WELL ADVISED, AND THE MARKET TENDS TO JUMP EARLY ON THINGS LIKE THAT. YOU MENTIONED YIELD. QUICKLY, I'M GOING TO ASK EACH ONE OF YOU GUYS. WHAT DO YOU THINK CORN YIELD IS GOING TO BE THIS YEAR AVERAGE? 148.7. OUR MODEL IS AT 146. I'M IN AT 148. BUT I THINK THE FARMERS MENTALLY ARE GONNA BE LOWER IN THAT CROP. SO I THINK THE MARKET IS GOING TO BE FEARFUL BETWEEN OCTOBER -- YOU GOT A COMMENT? I REALLY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION TO GIVE YOU SOMETHING I REALLY BELIEVE IN RIGHT NOW. BUT I'LL LEAVE YOU WITH THIS: THE LAST TEN TIMES THAT THEY HAVE TAKEN THE YIELD DOWN FROM JULY TO AUGUST, EIGHT OF THOSE TEN YEARS, THEY HAD TO RAISE IT. THE ONLY TWO YEARS IT DIDN'T HAPPEN WAS THE FLOOD OF 93, AND THEN 99 WE WENT DOWN JUST A BUSHEL. SO I'M --THAT'S HARD FOR ME TO --LOOKING AT IT, I KNOW IT'S GOING TO BE SOME BAD YIELDS, ESPECIALLY AROUND THIS AREA RIGHT HERE. BUT I'M GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE SEPTEMBER CROP BEFORE I CAN SAY ANYTHING SMART. THE OTHER THING WE NEED TO CONSIDER IS WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY HARVEST THE ACRES THAT ARE OUT THERE THIS YEAR, AND I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS RIGHT ON THIS. 10 OR 15 SECONDS, WHY YOUR COMMENTS? OCTOBER REPORT A LITTLE BIT MORE IN JANUARY. WE'LL BE BACK WITH MORE U.S. FARM REPORT IN JUST A MOMENT. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A LOT OF GOOD INTERESTING THINGS HERE WITH THE PRODUCERS. SOMEBODY ASKED A QUESTION, WHENEVER THE CRP PROGRAM ENDS, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE GROUND? IS THE GOVERNMENT GOING TO RENEW IT OR NOT? I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST FEARS POLITICALLY. AS WE GET HIGHER AND HIGHER FOOD VALUES, CATTLE, HOGS, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY SIDE OF THE EQUATION. THIS IS ONE OF THE WILD CARDS OUT THERE. WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO TO CHANGE SIX MONTHS OUT IN THE FUTURE TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY ENGINE? AND I THINK CRP IS ONE OF THOSE SACRED COWS THAT COULD BE TAKEN IN THE BACK ROOM AT THE TWELFTH HOUR AND BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. I AGREE WITH YOU LONG-TERM. I THINK IT IS AT RISK OF COMING BACK INTO PRODUCTION. SHORT TERM, AT THE SENATE HEARING LAST WEEK, THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT CAME OUT OF IT. CRP IS STILL A SACRED COW WITH THIS ADMINISTRATION. AFTER 2012, THAT MAY CHANGE. YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS? I THINK THE KEY POINT IS A LOT OF THAT'S WEAK GROUND IN THE PLAINS. IT'S FAIRLY LOW YIELDING, DRY MOST OF THE TIME. FALLOW SOMETIMES. AND WE KNOW HOW THE DRYNESS IS GOING TOAFFECT IT. BUT THE REAL ACTION ON ACREAGE IS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. THERE'S A BIG EXPANSION GOING ON IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, SOUTH AMERICA. PRICE MAKES AN EXCELLENT FERTILIZER. THOSE GUYS CAN UNDERSTAND THE KIND OF PRICES WE'RE HAVING, AND THEY READ THE SIGNALS AND THE PRICES WE'RE HAVING, WE HAVE PROFIT FOR THEM EVEN MORE THAN FOR US, RIGHT? IN SOME CASES. THEY'RE HIGHER COST PRODUCERS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE, AND IN SOME CASES BECAUSE OF THE VALUE OF THE CURRENCIES, THEY'RE NOT SEEING THE FULL IMPACT OF $15 BEAN, FOR EXAMPLE. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU DO HAVE --I MET WITH A TRADE TEAM OUT OF SOUTHERN AFRICA ON MONDAY LAST WEEK. THEY WERE EXPANDING ONE FARM 600,000 HECTORS. A HECTOR IS TWO AND A HALF -- 2.47 ACRES. AND WITH A GOVERNMENT INCENTIVE. BECAUSE PRICES ARE HIGH, AND THEY GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE THEY WANT TO PUT TO WORK. A QUESTION CAME UP. . ARE WE GOING TO HAVE MORE OR LESS GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION DEALING WITH PRODUCERS, FARMERS, WITH THE NEW FARM BILL, WITH NEW REGULATIONS THAN WE HAVE HAD IN THE PAST? WHAT DO YOU THINK THE TREND IS GOING TO BE? YOU DON'T WANT TO COMMENT ON IT. TERRIBLY, POLITICAL BUT IF IT'S REPUBLICANS, NO. DEMOCRATS, YES. I THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE A PRESSURE TO -- THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FARMERS HAVE TO DEAL WITH. REGULATION, WATER QUALITY, EPA. ALL THE THINGS ARE GOING TO COST. AND THAT'S GOING TO REDUCE THE SUPPLY. THE PRESSURE IS GONNA BE TO INCREASE PRODUCTION. HOW DO YOU INCREASE PRODUCTION IF YOU'RE PUTTING MORE REGULATION ON FARMERS? THE WHOLE BATTLE IN CONGRESS, I DON'T THINK WE KNOW HOW THIS WHOLE ISSUE IS GOING TO COME OUT. BUT I THINK OVER ALL, YOU HAVE TO DECIDE THAT REGULATION IS GOING TO INCREASE. THAT'S WHERE YOU HAVE TO SIDE, I THINK. I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THAT. LONG TERM, THAT'S THE DIRECTION. IF WE HAVE A SWING IN THE POLITICAL POWER, WE MAY BE ABLE TO PULL BACK BRIEFLY. BUT THAT WILL BE A MAJOR OBSTACLE TO OVER COME. ANY REGULATION WILL BE FAIRLY STRICTLY CHALLENGED IN THE COURTS. AND THE CURRENT COURT SYSTEM WOULD TEND TO SUPPORT THOSE REGULATIONS. ARE YOU SAYING THERE'S GOING TO BE MORE OR LESS? PROBABLY MORE? DO YOU AGREE? I DON'T KNOW. LET'S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. THIS IS THE CORN RELATED ETHANOL. IS ETHANOL AND -- ACTUALLY WE'RE USING 15, WE'RE GOING TO PRODUCE MORE ETHANOL IN THE UNITED STATES THIS YEAR THAN WE EVER HAVE. ; IS THAT RIGHT? RIGHT. AND WE'RE OVER MANDATES. AND THIS IS THE BIGGEST, BIGGEST BEAR OUT HERE. THAT WE GO BACK TO MANDATES, AND AS A CATTLE PRODUCER AND HOG PRODUCER, ALL THE ENGINES START COMPLAINING ABOUT HIGH PRICES. AND THEY INTEGRATE A LOWER REGULATION FOR EPA OR ETHANOL STANDARDS JUST LIKE BRAZIL, WOULD WE FOLLOW SUIT? THIS IS THE BIGGEST BEAR FOR SECOND QUARTER, THIRD QUARTER OF NEXT YEAR. GOING TO CONTINUE TO GET WORSE? 30 SECONDS. I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE A NORMAL HARVEST BASIS. AND WE'RE ALREADY SEEING THE BASIS WEAKEN TOWARD US. IT MIGHT BE BETTER THAN A FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE. BUT MOST THAT HAVE CONTRACTS FOR CASH YURZS LOCALLY HAVE ALREADY --YEWERS LOCALLY HAVE ALREADY ROUNDED UP --USERS LOCALLY HAVE ALREADY ROUNDED UP SOME GRAIN FOR THAT. IF YOU HAVE A THREE-WEEK RAINSTORM THAT BOGS DOWN HARVESTS, WE MIGHT HAVE SOME ANSWERS. ARE LAND PRICES GONNA BE HIGHER OR LOWER? WHAT TIME FRAME? IN THE NEXT YEAR, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT GOOD AGRICULTURE FARMLAND, HIGHER. HIGHER UNTIL INTEREST RATES GO UP. HIGHER. OKAY. WE'LL BE BACK WITH MORE U.S. FARM REPORT IN JUST A MOMENT.

CROP WATCH: METEOROLOGIST MIKE HOFFMAN JOINS US NOW. YOU WERE RIGHT ON ABOUT THE HEAT BEING PULLED OVER BY THE HURRICANE. I DIDN'T THINK YOU'D GET TO 97 AT MY FARM, BUT --WILL KATIA DO THE SAME THING? KATIA HAS THAT POTENTIAL. IT'S A LONG WAYS OFF THOUGH. BUT THE EAST COAST HAS TO WATCH THIS STORM. NO QUESTION, BUT THAT HEAT IS GOING TO SHIFT BACK TO THE WEST. BAD NEWS IS THE DRUT CONDITIONS JUST --DROUGHT CONDITIONS JUST KEEP GETTING WORSE. THEY HAVE BEEN VERY BAD THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE SEASON FOR TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA, ON ONTO NEW MEXICO. IT'S GETTING WORSE IN PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST, AND PARTS OF INDIANA, ILLINOIS, AND INTO IOWA. THOSE AREAS HAVE DEFINITELY GOTTEN WORSE OVER THE PAST COUPLE WEEKS. WE'RE STARTING TO SEE SOME MODERATE TO SEVERE DROUGHT SITUATIONS IN THOSE PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. IT REALLY HAS BECOME MORE CRITICAL UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CORN BELT. THAT'S SOMETHING WE'LL HAVE TO WATCH. THERE'S STILL TIME OBVIOUSLY BEFORE NEXT SEASON. HERE'S THE JET STREAM THEN AM WE'RE GOING TO BE WATCHING A TROPICAL SYSTEM IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO. A LOT OF YOU FOLKS DOWN THERE ALREADY WATCHING THAT ONE,ING, AND IT ALL DEPENDS ON EXACTLY HOW THIS FOLDS INTO THE TROUGH. BY A BIG TROUGH INTO THE GREAT LAKES IN THE NORTHEAST WAS, BRINGS A SHOT OF --BRINGING A SHOT OF COOL AIR INTO TEXAS. YOU'LL NOTICE THIS MODEL PUT THE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE OFF TO THE WEST. SOME MODELS TAKE IT EAST, SOME BRING IT NORTH. THAT ONIA ALL OFFER THE PLACE. THAT'S SOMETHING YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WATCH OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO. AS WE HEAD INTO NEXT WEEKEND, LOOK AT THAT. ANOTHER TROUGH COMING INTO THE GREAT LAKES IN THE EAST. BASICALLY AFTER THIS QUICK SHOT OF HOT AIR FOR THE ADLE OF THE COUNTRY, IT'S SHIFTED --FOR THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN, IT'S SHIFTED BACK. ON LABOR DAY, ON MONDAY, THEN, YOU CAN SEE A COLD FRONT ALL THE WAY DOWN INTO THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO, SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS, ALL DEPENDS ON WHERE THIS TROPICAL MOISTURE GOES. CHILE WEATHER COMING INTO THE NORTHERN GREAT LAKES, AND COOLER, STILL PRETTY WARM, BUT COOLER IN THE PARTS OF OKLAHOMA, NORTHERN TEXAS. BY LABOR DAY ITSELF, STILL SOME SCATTERED HIT AND MISS THUNDERSTORMS IN THE SOUTHWEST. THAT'LL CONTINUE ON WEDNESDAY. BASICALLY IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR FOR YOU GUYS. AND OF COURSE, WHETHER THAT TROPICAL MOISTURE GO SYSTEM STILL A BIG QUESTION MARK, THERE, ANOTHER COLD FRONT COMING INTO THE NORTHERN PLAINS. AND THAT WILL BE SHIFTING INTO THE GREAT LAKES WITH SOME SHOWERS THERE WITH SOME CHILE AIR BEHIND IT. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHEAST ON INTO PARTS OF TEXAS. THAT COULD FINALLY BE SOME GOOD NEWS FOR YOU FOLKS.

JOHN’S WORLD: EVERY WEEK I DRIVE THREE HOURS AND NINE MINUTES - NOT THAT I'M COUNTING - TO SOUTH BEND, INDIANA TO TAPE U.S. FARM REPORT. BECAUSE IT QUALIFIES FOR US AS A "CITY" I HAVE WEEKLY SHOPPING LISTS TO COMPLETE ON THURSDAY NIGHT BEFORE WE TAPE EARLY ON FRIDAY MORNING. THIS CHORE HAS PROVIDED ENDLESS AMUSEMENT FOR COLLEAGUES HERE AT THE SHOWS. THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CANNOT BUY CLOSE TO OUR FARM. AND MY TRUDGING FROM MALL TO MALL SAVES JAN FROM THE SAME TASK. ANYWAY, I HAVE NOTICED OF LATE AN INTENSIFICATION OF "UPSELLING". YOU PROBABLY HAVE EXPERIENCED IT AS WELL. ALL YOU WANT IS A NEW POWER SUPPLY FOR CELLPHONES FOR EXAMPLE, AND YOU SPEND 5 MINUTES POLITELY DECLINING MEMBERSHIP IN THE STORE'S "FREQUENT SHOPPER POSSE". IT NOW TAKES MULTIPLE REFUSALS TO GET OUT THE DOOR. OR THE CASHIER SUGGESTS A HOT BARGAIN THAT HAPPENS TO BE RIGHT THERE ON THE COUNTER. OR ANY NUMBER OF EXTRA SERVICES OR PRIVILEGES.EVEN MY DENTIST UPSELLS NOW. IT IS ONE REASON I BUY A LOT OF STUFF ON-LINE - THE UPS GUY DOESN'T TRY TO SELL ME ACCESSORIES. TO BE SURE, YOU CAN'T CHECKOUT ON-LINE WITHOUT CLICKING THROUGH A NUMBER OF "IF YOU BOUGHT THIS YOU'LL LOVE THIS" OFFERS, BUT AT LEAST IT JUST TAKES A MOUSE CLICK AND NOT AN INTERROGATION. I CAN ONLY ASSUME THIS IS A BIG GENERATOR OF ADDITIONAL SALES, SO IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, MAYBE I CAN JOIN THEM. I'M GOING TO TRY SELL CARGILL #2 CORN WITH AN EXTENDED WARRANTY. LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.... SEND EMAILS TO MAILBAG@USFARMREPORT.COM OR CALL AND LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL.

2ND HALF:
JOHN’S OPEN:
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. MIKE'S DROUGHT MAP IS STARTING TO REMIND ME OF A BAD HORROR FILM, WHERE SOME OUTER-SPACE FUNGUS INVADES THE WORLD AND SLOWLY TAKES OVER. AS WE HEAD INTO SOME OF THE HISTORICALLY LOWEST RAINFALL MONTHS, THERE SEEMS TO BE LITTLE TO STOP THE BROWN FROM SPILLING OVER MORE OF THE MAP. WE ARE AT A POINT WHERE NEXT YEAR'S CROPS ARE IN QUESTION AND THE AWFUL CHOICE OF ROOTING FOR A HURRICANE TO COME ASHORE IS RISING TO THE TOP OF OUR OPTIONS. DROUGHTS ARE LONG, GRINDING ORDEALS THAT TAKE THE MEASURE OF OUR CHARACTER. WE WILL ENDURE, I AM SURE, BUT THIS ONE, I THINK, WILL COMMAND OUR VERY BEST. LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE HEADLINES AND AL PELL...

HURRICANE DAMAGE: THANK YOU JOHN. FARMERS ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD ARE STILL COUNTING THEIR LOSSES, ONE WEEK AFTER HURRICANE IRENE CHARGED UP THE COAST. IN EASTERN VIRGINIA, THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF HARVEST-READY FARMLAND WERE INUNDATED BY THE STRONG WINDS AND HEAVY RAIN. AT THIS FARM NEAR RICHMOND, GEORGE COPELAND SAYS HE LOST MOST OF HIS 1,300 ACRES OF CORN. HE WAS TRYING TO HARVEST UP TO THE LAST MINUTE BECAUSE THE PRICE OF CORN IS MUCH HIGHER THAN HIS INSURANCE PREMIUM. SOME AREAS OF VIRGINIA SAW 16 INCHES OF RAINFALL. IT'LL BE WEEKS BEFORE TOTAL CROP DAMAGES ARE KNOWN.

VERMONT MILK: IN NEW YORK STATE AND VERMONT, IRENE IS CREATING HEADACHES FOR THE DAIRY INDUSTRY. OUR PARTNERS AT DAIRY TODAY SAY MILK HAULERS HAVE BEEN UN-ABLE TO REACH SOME DAIRIES DUE TO WASHED OUT ROADS AND BRIDGES. IN SEVERAL CASES, THE FARMERS HAD TO DUMP THE MILK.

TEXAS HAYLINE: MEANWHILE A DISASTER OF THE 'OTHER' EXTREME CONTINUES TO HURT FARMERS IN THE SOUTHWEST. MANY TEXAS RANCHERS HAVE BEEN SELLING PARTS OF THEIR HERDS, UN-ABLE TO FIND OR AFFORD HAY FOR THEIR CATTLE. IN RESPONSE, THE TEXAS AG COMMISSIONER IS REACHING OUT TO OTHER STATES LOOKING FOR HAY. THE STATE UPDATED ITS "HAY HOTLINE" TO HELP CONNECT RANCHERS WITH HAY PRODUCERS ACROSS THE NATION. ALSO, LETTERS WERE SENT TO AG OFFICIALS IN OTHER STATES, LOOKING FOR HAY DONATIONS. THAT WEBSITE IS WWW.TEXASAGRICULTURE.GOV/HAYHOTLINE. THERE'S ALSO A PHONE NUMBER, WHICH IS 877-429-1998.

TRUE MOO: IN THE DEBATE OVER CHOCOLATE MILK IN THE NATION'S SCHOOL SYSTEMS, DEAN FOODS HAS COME-UP WITH ITS RESPONSE.
DEAN FOODS ANNOUNCED THE NATIONWIDE RETAIL LAUNCH OF TRU-MOO. DEAN SAYS THIS CHOCOLATE MILK IS 130 CALORIES PER SERVING, ABOUT 40 MORE CALORIES THAN PLAIN WHITE MILK. THE COMPANY SAYS THE DRINK IS MADE WITH 15% LESS SUGAR AND WITHOUT HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. DEAN FOODS RAN SOME TEST MARKETS IN THE NORTHEAST AND NORTHWEST. NOW IT WILL ROLL-OUT TRUE-MOO ACROSS ITS VARIOUS REGIONAL BRAND NAMES.

MILK IN SCHOOL: SEVERAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING LOS ANGELES, DISCUSSED REMOVING FLAVORED MILK FROM THE CAFETERIA. THEY BELIEVED CHOCOLATE MILK WAS PART OF THE OBESITY PROBLEM IN THE U.S. TO LEARN MORE, GO TO WWW.TRUMOO.COM.

HEARTLAND: WHEN THE SCHOOL BELL RANG FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR IN TENNESSEE, SOME STUDENTS HIT HARD BY FLOODING THIS PAST YEAR RECEIVED A WELCOME BOOST. THANKS TO A GENEROUS EFFORT BY 4-H'ERS WANTING TO LEND A HELPING HAND, THESE STUDENTS WERE WELL SUPPLIED. CHUCK DENNEY HAS THE STORY IN THIS REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. CHUCK TELLS US DYER COUNTY HAS BEEN HIT BY SEVERE FLOODING THE PAST TWO YEARS - MEANING MANY FAMILIES ARE STILL RECOVERING FROM DAMAGE DONE BACK IN 2010.

PORK CARBON FOOTPRINT: THE ONGOING DRIVE TO LOWER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS IS PUSHING RETAILERS IS PUSHING SOME RETAILERS TO CONSIDER LABELING FOOD PRODUCTS BASED ON THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT. SOME IN AGRICULTURE - PARTICULARLY THE PORK INDUSTRY - ARE TRYING TO GET AHEAD OF THIS TREND BY LOOKING AT WAYS TO LOWER EMISSIONS ON THEIR OPERATIONS. REGIONAL REPORTER MICHELLE ROOK SHOWS US HOW TECHNOLOGY IS MAKING IT POSSIBLE. PRODUCERS CAN RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF THE CARBON FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR BY CONTACTING THE NATIONAL PORK BOARD OR THE NATIONAL PORK PRODUCERS COUNCIL. WHEN WE COME BACK, TRACTOR TALES AND OUR COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE...PLEASE STAY WITH US.

TRACTOR TALES: AL REJOINS US. I UNDERSTAND TODAY'S TRACTOR TALES COMES FROM NORTH OF THE BORDER ORIGINALLY. THAT'S RIGHT JOHN. IT'S PART OF CANADA'S MILITARY HISTORY. DURING A RECENT VISIT TO MEECUM AUCTIONS IN SOUTHERN WISCONSIN, WE MET A GENTLEMAN WITH A RELIC FROM WORLD WAR TWO. THIS TRACTOR BUILT BY CASE, SERVED IT'S TIME IN THE 40'S MOVING VERY SENSITIVE MATERIALS FOR THE CANADIAN AIR FORCE. DON'T FORGET, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WATCH TRACTOR TALES, BE SURE TO HEAD TO OUR WEBSITE U-S FARM REPORT DOT COM. AND NOW YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THESE SEGMENTS AS PODCASTS FROM I-TUNES. JUST GO TO THE I-TUNES STORE AND SEARCH TRACTOR TALES.

CHURCH SALUTE: TODAY'S COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE GOES TO CORINTH BAPTIST CHURCH IN ELDORADO, OKLAHOMA...AND WE TRULY MEAN "COUNTRY". MARSHA ROBINSON SENT US THE PHOTO. SHE SAYS THE CHURCH IS STILL LOCATED IN THE COTTON FIELDS IN SOUTHWEST OKLAHOMA. IT WAS STARTED BY A GROUP OF FARM FAMILIES WHO MOVED TO OKLAHOMA FROM CORINTH, MISSISSIPPI. THEY HELD THEIR FIRST SERVICE IN A ONE-ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE. BY 1913, THEY HAD BUILT THEIR FIRST CHURCH BUILDING. EARLHY ON THE PREACHERS WERE PAID WITH EGGS, HOMEMADE BREADS AND BUTCHERED MEAT. CONGRATULATIONS TO CORINTH BAPTIST CHURCH AND ITS 100 YEAR CELEBRATION. WE ALSO WANT TO GIVE A SPECIAL HELLO TO ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH IN CAMPBELL, NEW YORK. WE SHARED THEIR ANNIVERSARY WITH YOU LAST WEEKEND. BUT BECAUSE TV COVERAGE OF HURRICANE IRENE, THE FOLKS FROM THE CHURCH DIDN'T GET TO SEE OUR TRIBUTE. WE THOUGHT IT WAS WORTH REPEATING. ST. JOSEPH'S IS CELEBRATING 140 YEARS OF MINISTRY. THE CHURCH WAS BUILT IN 1871, WHEN ULYSSES GRANT WAS PRESIDENT. CHURCH MEMBER NANCY BAKER SAYS THEY HAD CONSIDERABLE RAIN AND WIND FROM THE STORM, BUT THEIR CELEBRATION WENT ON AS PLANNED. AND THEY'RE CERTAINLY KEEPING STORM VICTIMS IN THEIR PRAYERS. 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: TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG...LEONARD ROBISON FROM TEXAS CALLED IN WITH A CORRECTION TO MY STATEMENT LAST WEEK THAT THE U.S. WAS THE FOURTH-LARGEST COUNTRY: "YOU MIS-STATED THE SIZE OF THE COUNTRIES. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN RUSSIA, CANADA, U.S. THEN CHINA".
LEONARD, I USED WIKIPEDIA AS MY SOURCE, AND AT THE TIME NOTED SEVERAL FOOTNOTES IN THE RANKINGS. SO BRACE YOURSELF FOR MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT HOW TO MEASURE A COUNTRY. CHINA AND THE U.S. ARE ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME SIZE: CHINA AT 3.722 MILLION SQUARE MILES AND THE U-S AT 3.719 MILLION SQUARE MILES, A DIFFERENCE OF 8 HUNDREDTHS OF A PERCENT. THOSE ARE THE OFFICIAL UN STATISTICS. HOWEVER, THE CIA FACTBOOK, AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE, LISTS THE U.S. AS LARGER BECAUSE IT COUNTS THE COASTAL AND TERRITORIAL WATERS OF THE U.S. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA LISTS CHINA FIRST FOR THIS REASON. FURTHERMORE IF YOU COUNT THE TERRITORIES OF AKSAI CHIN, THE TRANS-KARAKORAM TRACT AND ARUNACHAL PRADESH WHICH ARE IN DISPUTE BETWEEN CHINA AND INDIA, THEN CHINA WINS. (I'M PRETTY SURE I DIDN'T EVEN COME CLOSE TO PRONOUNCING THOSE CORRECTLY.) SO YOU MAY BE RIGHT, BUT WE MAY NEVER KNOW. BUT LET ME LEAVE YOU WITH THIS CHINA FACTOID: THIS WEEK ONE OF THE RICHEST MEN IN CHINA BOUGHT 300 SQUARE KILOMETERS IN ICELAND FOR A PURPORTED HOTEL. IT IS WIDELY THOUGHT THE REAL STORY IS PREPARATION FOR A MAJOR SHIPPING PORT FROM CHINA TO EUROPE THROUGH THE ARCTIC WHICH OUR OWN NAVY BELIEVES WILL BE ICE FREE YEAR ROUND BY ABOUT 2035.
AS ALWAYS, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU, SEND COMMENTS TO MAILBAG@USFARMREPORT.COM OR LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL AT 800-792-4329.

 

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Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!

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