This past week was very busy. The first part of the week I was in Glenwood, IA. The later part of the week I traveled to West Point, NE, to speak at the Farmer’s Forum that was sponsored by Farmers and Merchants National Bank.

It was a delightful treat to be on the program with Neil Harl, a distinguished professor from Iowa State University. Many of you may think that he is controversial at times, but you must admit he makes you think. Harl was president of the American Agricultural Economics Association when he presented me with the National Outstanding Teaching Award. My mother, who has since passed away, thought Harl was a very nice and considerate man; he made her feel quite special at the awards meeting.

Neil and I had breakfast at the local café and took a ride around West Point to observe the farms. As we traveled down a dirt road, Neil received the ultimate compliment from a local producer. Apparently, this producer was a graduate of Iowa State University and had had Neil as a professor. This student thanked him for the great education that he had received. As a professor, that’s the reason we teach.

As the day wore on, Neil and I thoroughly discussed our concerns about the consolidation of the agricultural industry. We were in agreement that this trend is hurting the producer and that it will eventually hurt the consumer.

Our conversation progressed to an analysis of real estate. Both farm and residential real estate are far beyond capitalized values. To address farm real estate, continuation of government subsidies and land that has urban and recreational uses in the hands of financially leveraged producers leaves hope that a floor may be in place. The same cannot be said for residential real estate.

Observation

The airlines are cutting back their flights and the passenger loads are decreasing dramatically. Folks, they are in trouble.

Sports Prediction

No college football team will go undefeated this year. It could be the first year that the national championship game has one team with two losses.

P.S. Neil Harl has two beautiful John Deere Model A’s that are completely restored. See what professors discuss outside of academia!

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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