The Top Producer Seminar started out today with a bang. Peter Zeihan of Stratfor Group gave an interesting presentation on the economic outlook for ag and in general. It was very interesting to see a map with an outline of the world's river systems and learn how they have affected the world's economy over the last couple hundred years or so.
America, with the Mississippi River system and intercoastal waterway, has by far the best series of cheap river and water systems in the world. That is why it is cheaper for an American farmer to ship his corn from Minnesota all the way to New Orleans than it is for a Brazilian farmer to ship his corn by truck for a hundred miles.
The only other water system that comes close to ours is Argentina's, with three rivers that flow eventually down to Buenos Aires. Because of this waterway system, Argentina's standard of living in 1900 was about 90% of ours.
There was a group panel on where the new farm bill is headed. Consensus was for a bill in 2013, but we may still get one this year. Direct payments will no longer be there, and some expanded form of crop insurance is most likely to happen.
The value of peer groups was discussed in the afternoon, and I believe that these have great potential value to all farmers. It is always good to get another opinion that you value, and it is much easier to be held accountable by a peer.
All in all, the first day of the Top Producer Seminar was very productive, and I had several readers of the blog come up and say hi. I hope to see more tomorrow, and, with three back-to-back presentations, I know I will be more tired tomorrow.