Finances, Facts And … Fun

This past week I kicked the New Year off by speaking to 1,700 producers in Saskatoon. This presentation was broadcast around the world via Internet. Next, I went to Dickinson, ND, to speak at a Diversity Direction and Dollars workshop of 200. Then I headed down to Chillicothe, MO, to be with the Grand River Technical School and Chamber of Commerce. More on my trip later.

This week I observed that a number of producers had children or grandchildren in college or university. Here are some interesting facts I shared.

  • ß

  • According to GAO, the average graduating senior will leave school with $19,400 in student loans.

  • ß

  • According to Nellie Mae, the student loan agency, average student credit card debt rose from $1,829 in 1998 to $2,748 in 2000.

  • ß

  • At least 600 colleges and universities have ties with the credit card companies – about a half percentage point goes to the schools.

  • ß

  • A total of 94,717 young people under the age of 25 filed bankruptcy in 2000, according to a Harvard Law School study.

I will provide more on this subject when I survey my class over the next two weeks.

Omar The Taxicab Driver,

As I mentioned earlier, this past week I was in Canada. With heightened security they check everything at airports. I had a schedule change and was unable to fly from Saskatoon to Bismarck. So I ordered a cab to drive across the border to met Don Maus, a banker, to take me the remainder of the trip.

Everything was great until the company sent Omar from Pakistan for the trip. We get to the border in North Dakota, and, of course, we look suspicious: a guy in a suit with a driver with the wrong profile.

The problem escalated when Omar had no papers or documentation, which turned to a 45-minute interview. To make a long story short, the border security gave Omar 20 minutes to drop me off at the bar in Fortuna, ND, a town of 29. He was so scared of detention in the USA, he zoomed off without the tip.

I had dinner and a great time at the bar. They had a city council meeting, so I got to meet the mayor, city council, and the auditor, who all showed me great hospitality. Even the customs agents came by and we talked about farm program payments.

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.

This online exclusive is brought to you by Soybean Digest