The Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program was implemented by USDA for the 2009 crop year, as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, and continued for the 2010 to 2012 crop years. For 2013, eligible farm operators will again have the option to enroll in the ACRE Program, as an alternative to the current Counter-Cyclical Payment (CCP) Program....More
With Friday morning’s monthly USDA supply/demand update expected to show only minor adjustments in 2012-2013 estimates, the corn and soybean trade will focus on the agency’s first monthly estimates for 2013-2014....More
With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, the USDA is urging farmers and ranchers not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. USDA has already received more than 2 million completed Census forms....More
Another wet week in much of the Midwest maintained a sluggish pace of fieldwork. Rainfall was heaviest in the southern Corn Belt, where totals of at least 1-2 in. continued to sharply limit corn planting. In addition, another late-season snowfall occurred from central portions of the Rockies and High Plains into the Upper Midwest.
Speaking of webcasts, a banker from Iowa asked an interesting question during a recent webcast. He wanted to know my thoughts on how much farmland prices would be adversely affected in 2014 and 2015 if prices for crops drop below breakeven levels, for example $3-4/bu. corn. Let’s examine this issue that is top of mind with lenders and to a lesser extent with agricultural producers....More
A sprawling spring storm soaked the heart of the Midwest with more than 4 in. of rain, halting any fieldwork and sparking major flooding from the middle Mississippi Valley to Michigan. By week’s end, the Mississippi River achieved one of its five highest levels on record from just south of Moline, Ill., to just north of St. Louis, Mo.
It's no secret: the soil moisture conditions last fall were brutal for many parts of the U.S. And while many don't look forward to winter precip, this past winter, any form of precip was welcome to help replenish soil moisture across the Corn Belt. Here's a look back at the last six months of drought recovery in the U.S., as well as the changing drought outlook.
The final reason I am optimistic about agriculture is not one specific reason. It is a combination of reasons based upon my travels, interaction with people and general observations from my past experience and vision into the future....More
For over four decades, an annual event called Earth Day has been held in late April across the United States, which has been a time for all U.S. citizens to reflect on our country’s environmental resources, and what we can do individually and as communities to help enhance our environment for the next generation. In recent years, it has become fashionable to point the finger of blame at agriculture and farmers for many environmental issues....More
In an effort to break stereotypes, the book describes farmers who don’t wear overalls but who do use technology in producing food and preserving the environment, dairy farmers who work on “cow comfort,” and how hard farmers work on sustainability. On the other side, the book reminds farmers that only a tiny percentage of the population lives on a farm and urges farmers to tell their stories through social media and every day conversation to correct mistaken beliefs about food production perpetuated by traditional media....More
Transportation math shows the beauty of the U.S. export transportation system...when it runs smoothly. One vital bridge or lock collapse during peak season would be a house of cards, as roads and bridges buckle under resulting bottlenecks.
America’s D+ infrastructure rating by the American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card is no surprise.
Weak links to export channels lower farm profits and U.S. soy’s competitive advantage. One vital bridge or lock collapse during peak soybean export season would result in bottlenecks, as roads and bridges receive more traffic....More
As Earth Day 2013 draws near, conservation is perhaps more in the forefront of everyone’s mind. However, we in agriculture know that farmers do their best to conserve EVERY day, not just on April 22 every year....More
The current period of farm prosperity is not the same as the 1970 period of farm prosperity, even though similarities exist. The behavior of farm debt is a clear and distinct difference, especially in regard to non-real estate debt.
While last Wednesday’s USDA supply/demand report sparked renewed concerns about tight U.S. soybean stocks, ample world soybean stocks and rising worries about Chinese demand seem set to keep pressure on soybean prices....More
An alternative to leasing farmland is a custom farming agreement. In a typical custom farming agreement, the custom operator agrees to perform all the machine operations on the owner’s land in exchange for a set fee or rate. The landowner pays for all seed, fertilizer, chemicals, crop insurance and other input costs; receives the all grain produced and all eligible farm program payments on the land; and is responsible to store and market the grain....More
Despite all the bickering and inaction of our leaders in Washington, D.C., the U.S. economy is like green shoots of grass emerging from the winter doldrums. What are some of the metrics indicating a comeback in the economy?...More
Little or no precipitation fell across the northern and central Plains and the Corn Belt. However, Midwestern planting preparations were limited by low soil temperatures, and – in some cases – by muddy or icy field conditions.
Ouch! Corn prices dropped 70¢/bu. within a two-day period following the release of USDA’s March crop report. Welcome to the wild world of global economics! Are commodity prices being affected by weather and adjustments being made in planting, or are there other concerns on the economic horizon?...More
A visit to our largest customer was an amazing opportunity to comprehend and Think Different about this capitalist/socialist country that currently buys $26 billion of U.S. agricultural exports. In fact China bought 42% of its 2012 soybeans from U.S. farmers....More