Farm Forum

When talking about the seriousness of the downturn in the farm economy since the 2013 peak, most analysts use the USDA’s calculation of net farm income (NFI) (https://tinyurl.com/vafwly8) as the measuring stick. In most cases, the analysis deals with the change in NFI at the national level.

Farm Forum

12/10/19 — It’s been a rather slow past few weeks in grain trade, with some decent gains in soybeans, but more docile in the other major commodities as we head towards the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. There is the potential for explosive news this month yet with the Dec. 15 deadline fo…

Farm Forum

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an open sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) from December 9, 2019 through February 20, 2020. This will be the first sign-up period for the General CRP program since the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill and …

Farm Forum

The world is getting hot, but what does soil have anything to do with it? Quite a lot, in fact! In the years to come, one of the most important jobs of soil will be to help us recapture the very thing making our world too warm, carbon.

Farm Forum

12/03/19 — It has been another disappointing week in commodities, with mostly lower prices dragging the market back down near August/September lows. However, a bright spot last week was Friday’s 7c gain in corn, which effectively helped form an upside weekly reversal in corn. The only proble…

Farm Forum

Once harvest is completed in any given year, farm operators and non-farm landowners begin the tenuous task of negotiating annual land rental rates for the following crop year. Approximately 60-70 percent of the crop land in the Upper Midwest is under a land rental agreement, and most rental …

Farm Forum

Much ado is in the news and social media referring to some younger folks as an entitlement generation. On some issues I agree with this a bit, but is it just because I’m getting old myself? Born in 1965, I am a bit young to be a baby boomer, but grew up with them. A bit old to be generation …

Ag News

11/26/19 — Ag commodities have done almost nothing else but go down, down, down in the past 5 weeks. The leaks lower have been slow, almost imperceptible day by day, but when you look at the weekly changes we almost exclusively went down, down, down. This in spite of a poor production year i…

Farm Forum

As this year’s harvest winds down, it might be tempting to just square up the books and get ready for another round next year. In fact, many of you have already invested money towards the 2020 crop with early purchases of seed, fertilizer, or chemical. I think it is also important to invest …

Farm Forum

Near the fence in our cattle yard lies a curious old relic. It’s a rusty steel apparatus that’s roughly shaped like the letter “u,” albeit a letter that has been treated roughly. Not just due to the rust, but also because one leg of the letter sits at a 45-degree angle.

Farm Forum

Ask a farmer what their profit levels from crop farming are in 2019, and the answers can range from “fairly good” to “reduced” to “right down terrible”. Any of those answers could be correct, even in the same area, depending where the farms are located and how the erratic 2019 weather condit…

Farm Forum

Thanksgiving was the kickoff to a month of bookkeeping, depreciation schedules, and checkbook balancing for my parents on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth. It culminated in an afternoon meeting, usually the week after Christmas, where my father would detail the farm’s annual perf…

Farm Forum

A number of years back, before I had kids and possibly before I was married, a lady at Faith Evangelical Church in Crystal Springs, N.D., asked me if I would be able to come help out at a kuchen baking fundraising for a team raising money to go on a mission trip. The church sends out such te…

Farm Forum

11/19/19 — It has been an awful past two months for farmers as commodity prices have drifted lower while they struggle with harvesting a crop that is anything but a bumper crop. In fact, there will be a large percentage of soybeans and corn that will likely not be able to be harvested in 201…

Farm Forum

USDA has announced that the second portion of the direct aid payments under the 2019 “Market Facilitation Program” (MFP2) will be made in late November or early December. The MFP payments provide financial support for producers of a wide range of crops, including corn, soybeans, and wheat, a…

Farm Forum

I was driving to town recently, and about a mile east of our farm I saw a wild turkey — the bird kind, not the bottled kind — at the edge of the gravel road. This caused me to realize that it’s turkey time, that season in our great nation when we gobble gobblers until our collective belts be…

Farm Forum

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing titled, “Solving the Climate Crisis: Opportunities in Agriculture,” on October 30, 2019 (https://tinyurl.com/yxbu375t). In her opening statement, Committee Chair Kathy Castor said that agriculture not only experiences the impact…

Farm Forum

11/12/19 — The past few weeks have brought a lull to the grain market, with most grains flowing lower since mid-October. The weakest of all the major markets is corn, which has lost 25c in that time frame. Soybeans are down 38c since 10/14, and Dec. wheat down 17c (since 10/21 highs). So gra…

Farm Forum

As many grain marketing experts expected, USDA lowered the projected corn U.S. average yield for the 2019 crop year, based on the USDA Crop Production Report released on November 8. USDA decreased the expected 2019 national average corn yield by 1.4 bushels per acre and decreased the total 2…

Farm Forum

In this column, the third in a series (http://www.agpolicy.org/articles19.htm, 998 and 999) that examines the operational challenges of the APAC/TFU (Agricultural Policy Analysis Center/Texas Farmers Union) supply management proposal (http://www.agpolicy.org/articles17.htm, 890-897)—original…

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