Vilsack The Pick for USDA

December 16, 2008 06:00 PM
Snapshot of news and events for today


Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 44.50 points, or 0.5 percent, to 8,612.52.

  • The dollar traded at 88.96 yen to 88.33 yen.

Monday's U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 359.61, or 4.20 percent, to 8,924.14. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 81.55, or 5.41 percent, to 1,589.89.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.27 percent from 2.53 percent late Monday. The yield on the 30-year fell to 2.78 percent from 2.99 percent late Monday. 

  • The dollar was at 88.78 yen from 90.79 yen, while the euro was at $1.4128 from $1.3691 late Monday.

Ag futures Yesterday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened yesterday...

  • Corn: Futures 18 to 19 cents higher for the day.
  • Soybeans: Futures saw a fairly tight daily range, but posted a high-range close, finishing 12 1/2 to 15 1/2 cents higher.

  • Wheat: Futures opened higher and extended gains, posting a high-range close.
  • Cotton: Futures held in a tight trading range and closed slightly higher in all but the March contract, which was 4 points lower.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures favored gains through the day and closed 47 cents to $1.10 in all but the February contract, which closed 12 cents lower amid spreading.
  • Live Cattle: Live cattle futures started the day with relatively modest gains, but sharply extended those gains into the close to finish sharply to limit higher.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






Dec. 15

Grain Inspections (A)
Feed Outlook (E)

Wheat Outlook(E)
Apple Juice: World Markets and Trade (F)
Apples: World Markets and Trade (F)
Pears: World Markets and Trade (F)
Potatoes and Products: World Markets and Trade (F)
Table Grapes: World Markets and Trade (F)
Potato Stocks


Weather - Crop Summary (N)
Meat Price Spreads (E)
Vegetables and Melons Outlook (E)


Broiler Hatchery (N)


U.S. Export Sales (F)
Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (E)
Milk Production (N)
National Hop Report (N)


Dairy Products Prices (N)
Cattle on Feed (N)

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • Fed Cuts Rates Near Zero to Battle Slump Historic Move Boosts Stocks as Consumer Prices, Housing Starts Drop Sharply; Obama Calls for Government Spending Program The Fed's move was more aggressive than many expected and came with a pledge by the Fed that it would continue to use all tools at its disposal to help pull the U.S. economy out of a slump.
    Related item:
    Bernanke Goes All In
    Review & Outlook item.
    Obama Works to Overhaul TARP
  • SEC to Probe Its Ties to Madoffs The agency is examining the relationship between it and the Madoff securities firm which at the center of an alleged $50 billion "ponzi scheme." A former SEC attorney married a daughter of Bernard L. Madoff, head of the firm.
  • Lawmakers Reject Election for Illinois Senate Seat If Blagojevich Resigns or Is Impeached, Lieutenant Governor Will Make Appointment -- Keeping the Decision in Democrats' Hands Illinois lawmakers have rejected calls for a special election to fill the Senate seat that had been held by President-elect Obama. He, too, has backed away from his call for a special election.
    Related item:
    In Chicago's Messes, Daley Stays Clean

  • New CEO Is Selected as Pilgrim's Reorganizes. Don Jackson, from poultry firm Foster Farms, will be the next head of Pilgrim's Pride as it embarks on operating under U.S. bankruptcy laws.
  • Florida Attaches Condition to Big Cropland Purchase. The South Florida Water Management District voted on Tuesday to amend the deal with U.S. Sugar to allow the agency to abandon the purchase plan if financing for its purchase of 180,000 acres from the company proves too costly.
  • OPEC Closes In on Making Biggest Cuts in Decades Saudi Oil Minister Calls for Group to Reduce Production by Two Million Barrels a Day as Global Demand Wanes. The Saudi oil chief said a cut of 2 million barrels per day would be the only way "to bring things into balance."
  • Beijing Finds Bird-Flu Virus The discovery led to the destruction of more than 300,000 birds.

New York Times (registration to site required)

Washington Post

  • Fed Cuts Key Rate to Record Low Bank Pledges New Tactics With 'All Available Tools' to Boost Economy The Fed reduced interest rates for the 10th time in 15th months and pledged to use all of the tools it has available to help the U.S. economy. It also said it would likely leave rates at "exceptionally low" levels for "some time."
  • Obama to Pick Tom Vilsack To Lead USDA The choice will be announced today in Chicago and has received a positive reaction from most. The paper also notes his stance of backing taking money from farm subsidies and putting them toward conservation.
    Related item:
    Obama to Name Salazar As Secretary of Interior

  • With Strikes, China's New Middle Class Vents Anger While dealing with strikes and protests in rural areas has been a focus of the Chinese government, those types of demonstrations and unrest are showing in other areas of the country.
  • Welfare Rolls See First Climb in Years Job Losses Bring Applicants From Middle Class, Test New Focus on Finding Work. Some of the latest to seek welfare are from middle class families where applicants have been laid off from good-paying jobs. And some officials say that these applicants wouldn't be there if there were jobs available.
Ag media Monitoring the countryside

Fargo Forum (North Dakota)

  • Crystal Sugar fined $185K The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced Tuesday that American Crystal has agreed to pay $185,000 and to take steps to keep hydrogen sulfide levels within permitted levels at three beet-processing factories.

Wichita Eagle (Kansas)

Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)

  • Vilsack will be ag secretary The former Iowa gov. will be named to the post today and comes with the backing of many in ag and environmental circles.

Des Moines Register (Iowa)

Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: "Early this morning, embattled" Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich "invited several ministers into his home." First, "he prayed with them. And then, you know, out of force of habit, he tried to take up a collection."

David Letterman: "You know today, actually, five years ago tomorrow, I believe," they "captured Saddam Hussein. ... You know who gets a really big kick out of that" is "bin Laden. He just thinks that's the funniest thing."

Conan O'Brien: "Bad news for the auto industry. ... Yesterday, the bailout for US automakers fell apart in Congress. Yeah. Yeah, apparently the bailout fell apart because it was designed by the same people who make the Chevy Malibu."

Conan O'Brien: "According to an article that just came out in a fitness magazine," President Bush "often rides a stationary bike onboard Air Force One. That's true. Advisors say, 'He pedals really hard because he thinks he's powering the plane.'"

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