Views From North and South of the Border

I was privileged to visit Canada and Mexico recently. Both countries can provide a view of how global change is occurring at a rapid pace.

In Ontario, Canada, I was amazed at the number of acres of soybeans being grown, even on marginal soils. The acres of corn were astounding with very good yields. The dairy farms made me long for the days of the 1960s and ‘70s since dairy quotas keep the average size of dairy businesses smaller and more traditional.

The border is still closed to the U.S., however Canadian producers are using their NISA accounts (or rainy day funds) for individual farmers to overcome financial stress.

Interesting trends are occurring south of the border. More hog and poultry operations are gearing up as major U.S. agribusinesses are moving business south to take advantage of labor and environmental advantages.

The Mexican bankers are making a special effort to launch agricultural finance programs based upon American financial standards.

A group of Mexican bankers will be teaching an elective course at the Graduate School of Banking at LSU on how to market products and services to Hispanics. With Hispanics being 25 percent of the U.S. population by 2050, the influence will be more than a casual wind from the south.

Finally it is amazing at how integrated the economics of North America are and how rapid they are changing. In the last five years I have observed more change in both countries than in the previous 25.

Watch List Oil prices are slowing the German and European economies. The only question is when does it hit the U.S. and Asia?

With a four-year bear market on Wall Street, the floodgates of wealth are heading for real estate, particularly by the water, even in Florida.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

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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