I traveled to Ontario, Canada this week. The producers and agribusiness people there were attempting to compete against the United States’ farm program payments by differentiating their products on the revenue side.

Identity-preserved soybeans and niche international markets were two of the strategies used.

It is interesting how the Dutch money and urbanization in western Ontario is increasing land values possibly by 50% over their capitalized agricultural value.

Thumbs up on the economy!

Before you head into spring work, let’s take a first-quarter look at the economy.

The leading economic indicators are very positive. For example, the composite leading index is up six tenths of 1%. This marks the fourth-consecutive month above three tenths of 1% – a sign of the economic comeback. Secondly, the purchasing manager index is above 50, which is usually a sign of a stronger economy. Housing starts are also still very strong, the result of low interest rates.

The only negative indicator is increasing oil prices. If oil prices increase to $25/barrel and stay there for four to six months, this could be a factor that will put us into another recession. Of course, another terrorist attack would have the same effect.

Sports View

Oklahoma was my only pick to make it to the Final Four, thus I must go with it to win next Monday.

I would like to see Kansas challenge Oklahoma. I think Roy Williams is a good solid coach.

U-Conn on the women’s side is a really powerful team. Our Virginia Tech women’s team was the only one to play U-Conn with under ten points’ difference this year.

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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