This week was a West Coast swing into Idaho to speak to the Cattlemen’s Association. Then I traveled to the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Manitoba. It was interesting for me to realize that I actually felt safer in Canada than in the U.S. Airport security there is much less than in the U.S. and our Air Canada flight from Spokane to Calgary even had the cockpit door open. Wow!

The cattlemen and the agricultural industry are really interested in product traceability and identification. This represents not only value added, but also value earned and retained.

The major challenge for both sides of the border is the up-front cost. Producers and lenders realize that there are possible returns and benefits. However, the initial cost and standardization procedures take considerable time and money.

Personally, I believe this will be a trend in agriculture. It appears to be starting ground up with initiatives of individual producers rather than top down and forced upon us by government.

First Class Perspective

I attended two ag trade shows in Canada and saw $350,000 combines (in Canadian dollars) with all the comforts of life. Now we know why producers in both countries are living longer. With equipment like this, you can physically farm a lot longer than you could in the past.

Down On The Farm

My two boys are unhappy. It seems that, because we are outside city limits, we cannot get a new, two-way cable, which means high speed Internet. So it takes forever to get stuff to come up on the computer. Me? I let Barbzilla handle that. Oh, I guess I could pay for some satellite service. But remember, I am an economist and frugal by nature. The cost has to come down first. It’s just one of the prices we have to pay for being farmers. I love these crisp mornings.

Sports Perspective

The Bears vs. the Packers – what a great tradition. But the Bears luck ran out. It was all dependent upon stopping Bret Favre. I like the Packers – I get to be with them at St. Norbert’s College when I teach at the Advanced Ag Lending School sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Association. By the way, that is a great school for you lenders to attend! And you know my research assistant, Barbzilla, is a Packers fan. She says she was a fan through the bad years. Most of you remember.

Big Red Over K-State

Next week I am back in the Midwest again. The National American Bankers Association meets in St. Louis, MO. This is my 24th consecutive year of addressing the conference. It is definitely one of my favorites. Meet you in St. Louis!

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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