This past week I traveled from the Central Valley of California to Fargo, ND. While in North Dakota, I had the opportunity to speak at the North Dakota Agricultural Bankers Conference.
I shared the program with the Commissioner of Agriculture from North Dakota. He indicated that he was going to Cuba next week with other state commissioners and Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, on a trade mission.
In North Dakota this year, it’s the tale of two agricultures. In the southwestern part of the state, the drought has suppressed profits for both crops and livestock. In the northeastern section of the state, corn and soybeans look the best that can be observed in the U.S. Many bankers indicated that their customers would have the best profits in a number of years. The other parts of the state will average out with some people doing well and others suffering.
The bankers indicated that land values are maintaining or slightly increasing, due to the demand for recreational use.
A new crop of bankers is appearing at the conferences. Well over one-third of the conference attendees had never heard me speak before. This fact demonstrates the turnover of account managers that is starting to occur in agriculture.
I enjoy Fargo because it is the home of Roger Maris, former Yankee and Cardinal, who broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record with 61 in one season in 1961. Growing up on a dairy farm in New York, we listened to Yankee games on the barn radio. I used to pretend I was Maris in the local homerun derby contest, wearing his number 9.
If you get a chance to see the Roger Maris display at the mall in Fargo, it’s great. I also had the opportunity to visit his grave near the airport. A number of baseballs are on the ground, but one was from his grandchild saying, "Thinking of you, Grandpa." I guess that says it all. On his grave is 61/61.
He is the only person to run back four kickoffs for touchdowns in a high school game!
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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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