Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving week has been a time to reflect on what I’ve learned during my travels.

A Nebraska corn and soybean producer pointed out that a bottle of Evian water was worth more than a bushel of corn. Talk about taking a commodity such as water and turning it into value added!

I recently listened to a speech by the Ministry of Agriculture of New Brunswick, in eastern Canada. The NISA Fund, a rainy-day fund available for a majority of Canadian farmers, had nearly $3 billion invested in it. The Canadian government will match producers up to 6% and the money is income tax-deferred. At least 158,000, or 70%, of the producers eligible have enrolled. Talk about a risk management tool for producers and lenders. Why can’t the U.S. offer a similar program?

I had a chance to have lunch recently with two brothers from the Midwest. They grow corn and soybeans, and chase cattle. I asked them about their cost of production. Was I surprised by their response. They asked whether I wanted it by enterprise, cash cost, total cost, or with the family living expenses included. The bottom line was that they could tell me to the penny each and every cost. Over the last three years their average rate of return on assets was 14%. Now tell me there is no money to be made in agriculture!

The Office Next Door
What a great place, where I work. While I’m trying to concentrate on writing an article, my techy neighbors in the next office are byting together the next PlayStation video game (they’re actually developing the next games). I can’t tell you who they are, but I can promise that the action-packed video has great sound effects. My sons cannot wait.

Sports Perspective
The Nebraska folks are crying about that last game! Sorry, guys. What a week in college football. Oklahoma too. I just couldn’t believe it. Lots of tears.

Pro football is getting boring. Or is it just me? It’s too programmed. And where are the sportsmen like in college sports? Also, there is nothing like managing athletes on the police blotter. Just a bad attitude.

And, of course, Barbzilla is happy about the Packers game. I kept looking for the big G on their helmets and it just wasn’t there!

Virginia Tech has a small chance against Miami. It must play a perfect game with no turnovers against the Miami Hurricanes.

Next week I am going back to the Midwest to get some more perspectives from the front row.

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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