Education is part of “Alice’s” job

World Dairy Expo is all about educating people about the dairy industry and that falls right into line with what Alice in Dairyland does. Kati Wirkus will be at the show every day, talking to school children touring the show, helping host international guests and getting into the show ring for the presentation of the top awards.

AUDIO: Wirkus talks about what she is doing at WDE

Agreements will increase jobs, ag trade

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack echoes President Obama’s contention that passage of the agreements will result in thousands of jobs.

“American agriculture has been a bright light; we’ve shattered trade records and we’ve created jobs,” said Secretary Vilsack, during a conference call Tuesday. “These agreements will help us build on that success and increase income levels and provide more opportunities for businesses and employment opportunities around the country.”

In Tuesday conference call, Secretary Vilsack said the Korea Free Trade Agreement alone could generate $1.9 billion in additional ag trade. That’s on top of $5.3 billion in trade that Korea currently does with the U.S.

“The Korean Free Trade Agreement will have a greater impact on agriculture than the nine previous free trade agreements we’ve entered into,” said Secretary Vilsack, “so it’s a really big opportunity for us.”

There are many that think the final roadblock to approving the agreements was passage of Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides for workers adversely affected by trade agreements. In an August interview with Brownfield prior to Trade Adjustment Assistance passage, the President expressed his willingness to see the free trade agreements approved.

“We’re ready to get this done, and I’ve put more time and effort into negotiating these free trade agreements than just about anybody,” said President Obama, during an interview with Brownfield in August. “We’re ready to get them done, but there’s going to need to be a commonsense approach in Congress and that’s what I expect will happen.”

The President told Brownfield during that August interview that the free trade agreements would be dealt with in October.

Colombian officials happy with FTA movement

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos says he’s pleased President Barak Obama kept his word to Colombia to move the pending Free Trade Agreement with his country forward. In a statement released Monday, Santos called it a “mountain goal” that they have been climbing for six years but adds that it is “not the final goal.” Ultimately, Santos says, the U.S. Congress needs to ratify the free trade agreement.

In addition, Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. Gabriel Silva – says the free trade agreement with his country WILL level the playing field for American businesses, workers and farmers. In a statement, Silva said, they believe the FTA will be approved and will strengthen the competitive presence of the U.S. in Colombia.

Addressing the human rights concerns, Silva says the decision also confirms – “the progress made by Colombia in protecting labor rights and in (its) fight against violence and impunity.”

President Santos says the FTA means more economic growth and jobs and fits Colombia’s national goals of “More security, more jobs, and less poverty.”

President Obama on Monday also handed the pending U.S. FTAs with Panama and Korea to the U.S. Congress.

Corn, soybeans continue lower trend

Soybeans were lower on fund and commercial selling, along with spillover from the outside markets. The dollar was mixed and the Dow, gold, and crude oil were sharply lower on continued global economic uncertainties during the futures day trade. However, after the commodities closed, the Dow turned hard, closing more than 150 points higher. Past that – weather looks good and harvest is advancing well in most areas of the Midwest but there are some areas of concern. Soybean meal and oil were lower on spillover from beans and demand concerns.

Corn was lower on commercial and fund selling, in addition to the outside market direction during the day trade. Still, losses were limited by technical support and continued concerns about yield and quality. In any event, weather forecasts across the most Cornbelt for the rest of the week look generally warm and dry, allowing for good harvest progress, but, as with beans, there are some areas of concern including high moisture levels in parts of the Eastern Cornbelt. Ethanol futures were mostly lower. DTN reported the sale of 121,000 tons of U.S. feed corn to two South Korean feedmills. According to Russia’s Ag Ministry, the year to date corn harvest is at 2 million tons with collected grain area so far at 88% of the anticipated total.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and commercial selling, along with the outside market influence during the day session. Japan did buy U.S. milling wheat Tuesday but it was a small amount, 24,900 tons, and overall demand remains slow. Canada’s wheat production figure was up on the quarter and the year at 21.460 million tons and Egypt is increasing its protein level requirements; U.S. wheat will go from 11% to 11.5% and Russia moved from 11% to 12%. European wheat was lower on the broader market trade. Russia’s Ag Ministry states 88% of the grain crop is harvested with the running total for all grain at 89.5 million tons out of a projected 90 million; cumulative wheat collection is at 55.8 million tons. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry states 82% of the expected harvested area is in the bins with the running total at 40.8 million tons, adding 62% of winter crops are planted.

Grassley on FTAs going to Congress

There’s widespread support for the Free Trade Agreements put in Congressional hands Monday. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley says progress on the agreements is none too soon.

“The Obama administration itself predicts 70,000 new jobs will be supported if these deals are implemented,” Grassley told reporters, “So, that’s why we should have gotten it done yesterday instead of sometime this month.”

In a conference call this morning, Grassley told Brownfield that roadblocks to Congressional approval of the agreements are out of the way since passage of Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides assistance to workers adversely affected by trade agreements.

Grassley says this may provide momentum for renewal of Trade Promotion Authority, giving the President negotiating authority.

“So, I urge the president to ask for trade promotion authority immediately so we can continue to help our economy. A sustained effort to expand opportunities can help jumpstart economic recovery.”

However, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson is urging Congress to oppose passage of the FTAs, saying the three agreements are similar to NAFTA and CAFTA which have, in his words, “worsened the U.S. trade deficit, because the U.S. does not compete on a level playing field with other nations.”


Champaign Co. Barn Quilt Tour

If you looking for something to do this weekend, the Champaign County (Ohio) Barn Quilt Tour is going to be held Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9 and Tina Knotts, Executive Director of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau tells Brownfield this is the sixth year for the tour.

“This year we will have nine barns, which is more than we’ve ever had before,” said Knotts. “And we will have hundreds of quilts, and I’m talking about antique quilts and also new quilts on display, and then we also have a lot of food at each of the barns so you can get a culinary experience of Champaign County.”

The Barn Quilt Tour will be held this Saturday, October 8 from 10 to 5, noon to 5 on Sunday, October 9, tickets are available in downtown Urbana and to learn more check out the Champaign County Barn Quilt Tour on Facebook.

Audio: Tina Knotts, Executive Director, Champaign Co. Chamber of Commerce (7:00 MP3)

A reminder, with fall harvest underway as you drive around Champaign County this weekend enjoying the barns and quilts, please pay attention and watch for slow moving farm equipment on the rural roads.

Cattle trade at steady prices early in the week

It turned out to be a surprising day in the cash cattle trade. USDA Mandatory reported a light cattle trade in the Texas Panhandle and a moderate trade in Kansas on moderate demand. Compared to last week, live sales are steady at 121.00. Trading was light in Central Nebraska, with a few early sales at 121.00. Trading remained inactive in all other areas. Triple digit losses in the futures market may have prompted feedlot operators to accept less money than they were asking for. The cattle slaughter totaled 131,000 head, 1,000 more than last week, and 3,000 greater than a year ago.

Boxed beef values were generally steady on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was down .07 at 183.74, select beef was up .04 at 170.32.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled 157 to 230 points lower. The triple digit losses were due in part to strength in the U.S. dollar, and outside markets. Boxed beef values were also of concern to traders. There was also some profit taking after the recent gains. October settled 2.07 lower at 121.02, and December was down 1.77. at 121.55.

Feeder cattle contracts ended the session 170 to 210 points lower on the lack of buying support in the live cattle market and pressure in the outside markets. October settled 2.10 lower at 138.00, and November was down 1.95 at 140.90.

[Read more...]

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 4, 2011

Dec. corn closed at $5.87 and 3/4, down 4 and 3/4 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $11.60, down 17 and 1/2 cents
Oct. soybean meal closed at $298.30, down $4.90
Oct. soybean oil closed at 48.79, down 97 points
Dec. wheat closed at $6.04, down 15 and 1/2 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $121.02, down $2.07
Oct. lean hogs closed at $93.40, up 27 cents
Nov. crude oil closed at $75.67, down $1.94
Dec. cotton closed at 101.87, up 266 points
Oct. Class III milk closed at $17.65, up 25 cents
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,808.71, up 153.41 points

USGC sees bumper corn crop in China

The U.S. Grains Council estimates China will have a bumper corn crop this year at 6.6 Billion bushels. The USGC’s annual China corn harvest tour, which wrapped up last week, is the basis for the estimates. The number is 3.5 Million bushels higher than last year’s corn harvest in China.

Grains Council chairman, Dr. Wendell Shauman, says he’s happy to see “strong harvests” anywhere. With the high demand for corn globally, Shauman says strong harvests will help moderate prices and keep “international growth markets on track.”

Nebraska Corn Board director Don Hutchens, who was on the tour says government and private analysts agree with the USGC that China’s corn crop is a good one but “will be insufficient to meet anticipated domestic demand” and China has drawn down its stocks to about 25 percent. He says China will still need to import to satisfy domestic demand and build grain stocks back up.

Corn stocks numbers surprise and confuse

Last week’s corn stocks number from the USDA, the last one from last year’s crop, was much bigger than expected. University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good says the number was a surprise to the trade and was confusing to him.

“Being surprised is not all that unusual,” says Good, “But typically you can go back and reconstruct ‘where did we go wrong in anticipating the stocks number?’ and this time it’s pretty hard to do.”

Take the livestock feeding numbers, which the report says were 35% smaller than last year, “I just don’t have an answer at this point how we produced as much livestock as we did with as little feed that the stocks number would imply.”

Good says those numbers don’t add up for ethanol byproducts either, “We had a small increase in DDGs, year over year, but for the summer quarter that was three to four-percent. That really does not explain the drop in grain feeding.”

The Grain Stocks report is released each quarter of the fiscal year. It tallies, for the most part, how much of the previous year’s harvest has been used and what’s left to be used.