Minnesota And Back

I just addressed the Minnesota Agriculture Bankers Conference. Discussion with the audience centered on the high land values going higher. They indicated that there are two purchasers of farm ground: the non-farm investor outside of ag, and then larger ag producers who are expanding operations.

I had an interesting interaction with an ag banker from Wisconsin who is a close friend of mine. He said that some of the dairy farms are facing financial stress. The financial returns gap between the winners and the losers is widening.

I was also a facilitator on a panel of producers in the western U.S. recently. They indicated their rates of return were 10% or more, which adds more credence to this statement about the gap.

A Full Service Office – Next Chapter

Last week I told you about the milking pulsator that quit on us and that we had to disassemble and order parts. Well, the parts came in and we had to put the dang thing back together.

I asked Barbzilla to get the part out of the truck for me and take a whack at putting it back together. She came back to the office saying that she didn’t know her job should include danger pay. She got within 10 feet of my truck and was driven back by the odor of manure. She said if that pickup had been in a field somewhere it would have been surrounded by cows looking for the attractive smelling bull!

And I did sneak off with her office screwdriver set but got it back the next day before she noticed it was gone. I knew there was a reason that we farmers get up at the crack of dawn.

First-Class Perspective

I frequently get moved to first class because of my frequent flyer status. The buzz in the cabin is how quickly the economy is contracting not only here but abroad. The large accounting consulting firms have indicated that business is drying up. The ripple effect of 9-1-1 will cost our economy $1 trillion dollars.

Airlines: Up To Their Old Tricks Again

After over $15 billion in bailouts, the airlines are back to poor customer service. And boy, am I mad! My latest experience resulted in not only missing a speech in North Dakota, but also in having to listen to Delta and Northwest fight with each other over the status of my return trip. The bottom line for me was that after three hours of going through security four times, I made it home at 3:00 in the morning. And the bottom line for you is that you better get used to seeing me by video conference more often. Flying is just too much hassle.

Sports Perspective

Big Red and the Hurricanes of Miami look tough.

The Yankees sure do show championship qualities. But when all was said and done …

Let’s examine Michael Jordan over the whole year rather than just one evening’s performance.

The Bears and that Hail Mary play … well, all plays at the end of the game, had my heart going. But Barbzilla’s vote is that they don’t pray and don’t win next week against Green Bay. (She is from Milwaukee and says she was a fan during the bad years too.)

Next week I will be reporting from the state of Washington. Sometimes I forget where I am going. Have I ever mentioned that my secretary, Jill, has been helping me for 20 years?

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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