Missouri Hopes to End Dicamba Ban Late This Week

Jul 11, 2017 68
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While Arkansas farmers are in the very early stages of a 120-day moratorium on using dicamba, Missouri farmers may have a much shorter time to wait for their delay to end. Missouri Ag Director Chris Chinn told Agri-Pulse that the department’s intentions are for the ban to be more of a short pause in her state. The goal is to get approved products back in the hands of farmers by the end of this week. Chinn says the decision will be based in part on what companies like BASF and Monsanto do to make changes to restrictions or to the label of their products. Chinn says, “They’re looking at the special local needs label and that’s the state label. Once my Director for the Bureau of Pesticides Control signs off on that, it will go into effect immediately.” It then heads to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has 90 days to approve it or ask for changes. Both BASF and Monsanto issued statements saying they’re working with Missouri and hope to have the issue resolved as soon as possible. The Missouri Ag Department has received over 130 damage complaints involving more than 200,000 acres of damaged soybeans.

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Chinese Buyers Commit to Large U.S. Soybean Purchase

Jul 11, 2017 49
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Demand already looks good for the 2017 soybean crop. China is the number one purchaser of U.S. soybeans, buying 60 percent of American soy exports every year. The U.S. Soybean Export Council, along with several American and Chinese organizations, will host a Chinese delegation of buyers at a soybean trade contract agreement signing ceremony. The event takes place on July 13th at the Des Moines, Iowa, Embassy Club. China’s middle class is expanding and the USSEC China Director said its appetite for protein is growing. That means more livestock, which means more opportunity for American soy as a preferred feed ingredient. The exact volume of the purchase won’t be known until July 13th but it should be quite large. At similar events last year, China buyers purchased nine million metric tons of U.S. soybeans worth more than $4 billion. Exports to China in the current marketing year have already been a record 34 million metric tons. Nebraska farmer and USSEC Chair Jim Miller says international customers have a lot of options for soybeans. This decision by Chinese buyers to purchase American soybeans shows how reliable a supplier the U.S. is and the quality and sustainability of the crop.

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Western Crop Stress Keeps Markets Moving

Jul 11, 2017 49

Western stress moving markets

Stress to the crops from hot and dry conditions led to a surge in the corn, soybean and wheat markets Monday. Hoosiers haven’t experienced the hot and dry, but they have in the west. HAT chief meteorologist Ryan Martin attributes that to an upper level ridge over the middle of the country the last week and a half to two weeks. He says we’re starting to move into the zenith of the ridge holding and building over the western Corn Belt and Great Plains.

“So, we are seeing temperatures surge to above normal levels across most of the nation’s midsection, on through parts of Iowa, Missouri, and even up to the upper Midwest,” Martin says. “Up to this point though we had actually seen some thunderstorms getting trapped underneath. We had some moisture that routinely was trying to come across Kansas and Oklahoma and up into the west and southwestern Corn Belt. Going forward here it looks like that moisture push is going away. So, in addition to the above normal temperatures we are seeing some dry down happening now between this time frame and all the way through the ten-day to 2-week period. That’s going to lead to some stress over the western Corn Belt.”

The stress did get the market moving Monday, and Martin says there could be more of the same as the hot and dry conditions head east.

“We could see some further excitement as over time we see this warm, dry push slowly expanding into the eastern Corn Belt.”

The markets also moved higher on the trade’s expectation of a decline in crop ratings from USDA Monday afternoon, and that is what the agency reported. Corn condition was downgraded 3 percentage points to 65 percent in the good to excellent categories, and soybean condition dropped 2 points to 62 percent good to excellent. Indiana soybeans are at just 50 percent good to excellent, better than only North and South Dakota. Indiana corn is rated 48 percent good to excellent, ahead of only South Dakota.

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Is Crop Insurance Worth Fighting For?

Jul 10, 2017 82

Is Crop Insurance Worth Fighting For?

At Farm Bill listening sessions in Indiana and around the country, crop insurance is being promoted by farmers as their top priority in a new Farm Bill. However, there remains considerable opposition in Congress. The Trump administration has proposed cuts in funding for crop insurance and many non-farm-state lawmakers also have spoken out against crop insurance.  Jason Alexander, with Farm Credit Mid-America, says proposed changes in crop insurance will impact everyone in agriculture, “It will impact everyone. It will affect everyone — large farmers, small farmers, organic farmers, produce farmers, corn, soybeans, and wheat farmers.” He added that what has been proposed will change the risk pool and that will increase rates for everyone.

Alexander points out that the one group that will be hit the hardest is young farmers, “Who have no margin for error. Can they afford those levels of coverage so they can come to us to barrow the money to put a crop in the ground?” Randy Kron, President of Indiana Farm Bureau, told HAT the proposed cuts in crop insurance would make it almost impossible for beginning farmers to take over existing farming operations.

Some have suggested limiting who can qualify for crop insurance, while others have proposed limiting the number of payments a farmer can receive. Alexander says any of these changes will weaken the system and raise the rates. Some critics claim that the insurance companies are getting rich off the government subsidies, but Alexander says that is simply not true, “These companies are not making much money and, in most years, are in the red.” He said further cuts would force them to increase rates or get out of the business altogether.  The level of compensation these companies receive was cut in the 2008 Farm Bill and again in 2011 legislation.

Alexander urges producers to get vocal and share how crop insurance benefits their operations, “Tell them how risky farming is and how you use crop insurance.”

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Indiana Has Too Much Rain

Jul 10, 2017 66

Thunderstorms in the latter part of the week limited field activity for a fourth straight week, according to Greg Matli, Indiana State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Producers in southern counties and in the Northwest part of the state welcomed the rain as it helped to improve crop condition in those areas. Elsewhere, excessive rain saturated soils, drowned crops, and left standing water in fields.

As water levels of rivers rose, so did concerns for the potential of additional flooding with the forecast of more rain. The statewide average temperature was 74.0 degrees, 0.7 degrees below normal. Statewide precipitation was 1.37 inches, above average by 0.60 inches. There were 4.3 days available for fieldwork for the week ending July 9, unchanged from the previous week.

Regionally, corn was 12% silked in the North, 12% in Central, and 47% in the South. Corn rated in good to excellent condition was 57% in the North, 40% in Central, and 48% in the South. Soybeans were 32% blooming in the North, 28% in Central, and 36% in the South. Soybeans rated in good to excellent condition were 57% in the North, 44% in Central, and 52% in the South. Winter wheat was 96% mature in the North, 99% in Central, and 97% in the South. Winter wheat was 56% harvested in the North, 84% in Central, and 96% in the South.

In addition to heavy rain, thunderstorms brought hail and heavy winds, causing leaning of corn in some fields. In some parts of the state, soybeans were yellow and stunted. There were also reports of slugs in soybean fields, and high numbers of Western Bean Cut Worms in traps. Weed control has been an issue in the wettest areas; some fields and pastures were in good condition while others have had problems with marestail and palmer amaranth. Winter wheat harvest continued as weather conditions permitted. Livestock were reported in good condition on average. Other activities included preparing for county fairs, baling straw and applying fungicides.

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Canadian Problems with PEDv Continue to Grow

Jul 10, 2017 54
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The continued surge of a piglet-killing virus in Canada is starting to threaten a share of pork supplies in the U.S. Fifty cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, have been confirmed in Manitoba between May 1 and July 4. The virus has affected over 63,000 sows at hog operations in southeast Manitoba, Canada’s third biggest pork producer. Some U.S. brokers have already quit taking shipments from Canada because of the outbreak. The virus causes diarrhea and vomiting. While older animals typically recover from the virus, mortality rate in young piglets can be as high as 100 percent.

A U.S. outbreak back in the winter of 2013-2014 killed millions of animals, sending pork prices to record highs. Canada’s veterinarian service is still allowing pigs without the virus to be shipped south into the U.S. The latest outbreak is estimated to have cut production by as much as 200,000 piglets, with roughly half of that number ending up in U.S. barns.

Source: NAFB News Service

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More Risk Premium On the Way

Jul 9, 2017 60

More Risk Premium On the Way

Ben Kasch

For the past two weeks, the futures market has been adding a lot of risk premium to prices, and the weather forecast continues to predict less than ideal crop conditions. In this week’s Bower Trading Market Strategy report, Ben Kasch said this week will be more of the same. “The weather looks threatening in the far western Corn Belt . The crops in this area are suffering and production is getting smaller,” he stated. “The adverse conditions are moving East, with parts of Iowa and Central Illinois making it onto the drought map.” He added that, in the eastern Corn Belt, the issue is too much rain, “We have guys who had had to replant 2 and 3 times, and now they are getting hit with heavy rain.” With these situations, he sees the market putting more risk premium into prices, “It could be a very volatile week.”

Over the weekend, parts of Indiana saw more heavy rain, with 2 and 3 inch totals. There is more rain in the Indiana forecast for this week, followed by several weeks of hot and dry conditions right in the midst of pollinating. Kasch said the market will be focused on the weather almost exclusively this week.

According to Kasch, commodity funds, which have been short the market all spring, are quickly changing their position. That will add to market volatility, “There is a lot of restructuring going on as far as funds go, and it will continue as long as we have these weather concerns.” He said the funds will not be comfortable holding their short positions with the chance of hot dry conditions in the middle of pollination.

For more market strategy information,  contact Bower Trading at 800-533-8045 or bowertrading.com.

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IBCA to feature “Cattlemen’s Choice” sandwich

Jul 9, 2017 65
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A long-standing Indiana State Fair tradition continues in 2017, but there is a new twist.

Joe Moore, Executive Vice President of the Indiana Beef Cattlemen’s Association, says that since 1983 the IBCA has been serving Hoosier Ribeye Steak sandwiches at the Indiana State Fair.

“The main focus for our organization to be there is to promote beef, and our tent is pretty much staffed by over 500 beef industry volunteers whether that be actual producers or allied industry people. It gives them the opportunity to come out and work on behalf of the industry that so many of them are so passionate about,” said Moore.

Over the years, they have looked for new ways to promote beef. Last year they introduced a smoked beef brisket sandwich. This year, Moore says the IBCA Cattlemen’s Club committee decided to add another new menu item.

“And so they put together two of our iconic classics which is the Hoosier Ribeye Steak and combined it with this new smoked beef brisket, so we are calling it the ‘Cattlemen’s Choice,’”said Moore. “It is a ribeye steak topped with smoked beef brisket and we pile that high on a bun, and we’re gonna sell those for $10 this year. It is not for the faint of heart; it will definitely satisfy the heartiest of appetites.”

The IBCA food stands are located in front of the cattle barn and on the north side next to Pioneer Village. The 2017 Indiana State Fair begins August 4th and ends August 20th.

Source: Dave Russell

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Pork Wants U.S. Bilateral Trade Deal with Japan

Jul 9, 2017 65
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The European Union and Japan formally agreed to the outline of a free trade deal. America’s pork producers want to know why the U.S. is not moving on its own bilateral deal with Japan, the highest value market for U.S. pork exports. They say that, now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has gone away, the U.S. needs to be moving forward quickly on a TPP-type of deal with Japan.

Under the old TPP, Japan’s tariffs on pork would have been completely eliminated. When their agreement is fully in place, the E.U. will be able to sell pork at a lower tariff rate that will eventually disappear, making it harder for American pork to compete in the market. Other countries are moving ahead on bilateral trade agreements, and U.S. pork producers do not want to miss out on opportunities. “We’ve let the administration know they should focus on the Asian-Pacific area and start with Japan,” says Dave Warner of the National Pork Producers Council. “It’s the fastest growing area in the world.” Japanese consumers purchased $1.6 billion in U.S. pork, and demand is very strong in spite of tariffs and other measures that limit market access.

Source: NAFB News Service

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Commentary: The Cost of Free Trade

Jul 9, 2017 76

After taking a real public whipping during the 2016 election, trade is slowly crawling back to the surface as an economic tool that has benefits for the U.S. economy. Even President Trump, who a year ago vowed to tear up NAFTA and back out of TPP, is now “renegotiating” NAFTA and quietly talking trade with many of our former TPP partners.

During the campaign, Trump’s tough rhetoric on China had many in agriculture fearing a trade war. So it is ironic that the first agricultural trade breakthrough should involve U.S. beef exports to China. Vice President Pence has been to Japan to talk trade, and low-level discussions on trade with South Korea are also happening under the media radar.  While many in agriculture are encouraged by these developments, there is a dark side to this trade talk.

Most farmers support free and fair trade. History has shown that the farm economy wins big when we trade with other nations, and data shows a direct correlation between the amount of goods we import and the level of farm goods we export. In 1998, the U.S. imported $37 billion in farm products and exported $52 billion. Over the next two decades, those numbers grew to $111 billion in imports and $150 in exports.  This was the era of NAFTA, CAFTA, and a host of other multinational trade agreements.  Yet, in our eagerness to foster a policy of free trade, let’s be mindful of what might come along with it.

“In order to make a credible case for further liberalization, we must lead by example and cut our own agricultural subsides,” says Trade Policy Analyst Clark Packard with R Street, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization whose mission is to promote free markets and limited, effective government. They are among a growing number of conservative groups in Washington that are advocating for drastic reductions in farm programs, including crop insurance.  “As Congress begins piecing together the next farm bill, it is important for legislators to understand that overly generous domestic agricultural subsidies hamper our ability to expand foreign trade in agricultural products,” stated Packard.

In other words, they want farmers, who already take on more risk than about any other business, to take on more risk with no tools to manage that risk.  Somehow, by throwing American producers naked into the global marketplace, it is going to shame the EU, Canada, Brazil, Japan, China, and others into dropping their tariffs and internal supports for their farmers.  This kind of bilge is getting a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, and many of these groups have considerable influence in the Trump White House.

There are some aspects of U.S. farm policy that are vestiges of the past and need to be addressed, but crop insurance is not one of them. To call this public/private program “an overly generous agricultural subsidy” is demeaning and totally inaccurate. These quacksalver trade experts are ignorant of how crop insurance is used and of the role it plays in a farming operation.

This should serve as a warning, however, of the fight we have ahead of us. With big budget cuts coming, the battle to maintain adequate funding for crop insurance will be key.  Strong farmer involvement will be needed to demonstrate the truth about the importance and necessity of a sound and affordable crop insurance program. Farmers need and deserve a trade policy that enables them to participate fairly in the world market,  but not at the cost of giving up their safety net.

By Gary Truitt

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