This past week was interesting as I used technology to speak to a lenders’ group near Boston and Wichita, KS. The video conferencing technology is now becoming very good and it is possible to do up to a three-hour program where you can use both verbal and non-verbal interaction with large audiences on complex subjects. It will not be a complete substitute for face to face interaction but it sure can be complementary. Gee, I felt like George Jetson!

Young People’s Questions

I lectured in Dr. Bill Beale’s Introduction to Animal Science class of 150 students last week. The most popular question was "What will be the impacts of 9-1-1 on the agricultural economy?"

First, I see a continuation of the downturn of the global economy and the U.S.‘s major trading agricultural partners like Mexico, Canada, Japan and Germany. However, food will not be impacted as much as consumer goods.

Second, the Farm Bill, at least the House version, would increase spending for agriculture and provide supports only when commodity prices were low. Watch out for the Senate version. And, watch for more payments shifted from commodity payments to conservation programs. Payment limitations and close scrutiny of who will receive payments will be a higher priority.

Third, this is a message to all agricultural producers. A system of traceability from the seed to the plate, and from the embryo to the plate, will not be an option but a requirement. Another attack on the food or biosecurity side will only accelerate this.

Finally, there will be less wage pressure as unemployment increases.

Warrior Tidbits

4.63% of U.S. homeowners are at least 30 days behind on mortgage payments, which is a nine-year high!

The average household carries $8,488 in credit card balances, which is more than double from 1994 to 2001, from $285 billion to $603 billion.

Sports Perspective

Big Games on the Horizon in College Football –

Oklahoma vs. Nebraska

Virginia Tech vs. Miami

Anyone playing UCLA and Oregon in the PAC-10

In NFL football, of course, my assistant, Barbzilla, is happy. Her Green Bay Packers landed on top against Baltimore (she is from Milwaukee and will die a Packers fan). You probably know that Antonio Freeman is from Virginia Tech. So I gotta give him an "atta boy" for his performance.

In the Air

I will be in the air next week and I cannot say that I am looking forward to it. Let’s look at it this way. The negative side is that I really don’t know what to expect at different airports. The positive side (if I am looking for an adventure) is that I really don’t know what to expect at different airports. Let’s just say that these groups wanted me to be there in person rather than do a videoconference. Sometimes the only way you want to do it is up-close and personal.

I wish this week I could stay home on my tractor like so many of you. Be careful.

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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