On the way to recovery

For one Missouri FFA chapter, just making it to this year’s National Convention is an accomplishment in itself.  The Joplin, Missouri high school building was destroyed in the massive tornado that ripped through the town on May 22nd.  Logan Long is a senior from the Joplin FFA chapter; he tells Brownfield the support that they have received is incredible.  Long says donations came in from all over, he names Texas, Florida and Wisconsin to name a few.  He says the fact that so many people pitched in to help them in their time of need proves that FFA is one big chapter and everyone cares about everyone else.

The Joplin FFA chapter has a table set up on the floor of the career fair to say “ thank you” for those who provided assistance.  Also on display, the lone surviving FFA jacket; Anna Lee Copeland says that in itself tells a story.  She says one of their favorite phrases is “Twistered, not broken.”  She says the jacket that everyone sees on display during the FFA show may be ripped to shreds and dirty as can be, but we’re all still here, together.  Copeland says they’re “stuck like glue”.

Through donations from other FFA Chapters around the nation, the Joplin FFA chapter was able to overcome the odds and make it to National Convention.  Jason Cutler is Joplin’s FFA advisor and says even though they have a long road ahead of them, because of the generosity of others they are on the road to recovery.  Cutler simply says “thank you doesn’t cover it”.

The 84th National FFA Convention runs through Saturday

South Dakota extension changes begin next week

The South Dakota State University Extension Service rolls out its new regional operation next week.

“We’ve got furniture and offices and people ready to start next Monday,” said Dr. Barry Dunn, Dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, in an interview with Watertown radio station KWAT. “I think the offices will actually be open on Tuesday; we’re going to let the people settle in for a day, but we’re getting to work next Monday.”


The regional extension centers will open in eight locations around South Dakota housing specialists in several areas of expertise. However according to Dunn, there are still many specialist positions that have not yet been filled.

“Part of that was location, we didn’t have people who wanted to work here or there, and part of it was we had a pretty high standard of the people that we were hiring, so we don’t have them filled yet and we’re going to re-advertise,” said Dunn.

Some people are slow to embrace the changes taking place in the extension service, according to Dunn, but he says most people are on board.

“Eighty percent of the people are very, very supportive and 20 percent have offered some tough questions and some criticism and that’s fine, but really the majority of people have been very supportive,” said Dunn.

Dunn says South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard offered compliments last week about adoption of the new extension model in an open letter.

The regional extension model replaces the system that evolved from having extension agents in most counties of South Dakota.

No drought relief in sight for the Southern Plains

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its Winter Outlook for December, January and February and for the second year in a row, La Nina will be in play. The cooling of the Pacific redeveloped in August and is strengthening, that means below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures from southern California to Florida. As a result, NOAA says Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and areas in surrounding states will not get enough rain to alleviate the drought.

As for the rest of the country, the forecast calls for colder and wetter than normal in the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Plains and into the Great Lakes; wet but variable temperatures in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys with warmer and wetter than normal in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Spring flooding is again a possibility in the Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee River valleys.

However, La Nina could be overridden by a phenomenon called “Arctic Oscillation” where shifts between high and low pressure systems cause the polar jet stream to fluctuate. If that happens it would push bitter cold and heavy snows out of Canada into the Midwest and Northeast. While the phenomenon could develop, Arctic Oscillation can actually only be predicted a couple of weeks in advance.

More details from NOAA here:

Dairy markets “range trading”

A little pressure on dairy markets from the September milk production report on Thursday. USDA reports total U.S. output for the month was up 1.7 percent compared to a year ago and production for the third quarter was up 1.4 percent from the third quarter of 2010. Traders did note California production increased less than one percent in September as heat and high feed prices came into play. Production for the quarter in California was up 2.5 percent from a year ago.

Overall, the dairy markets seem to have settled in to range trading, cash barrels trade from $1.64 to $1.785 with the blocks in a little smaller range $1.68 to $1.765. Dairy Market News says milk availability still varies across the country with 120 loads shipped into Florida this week. Securing trucks is a growing challenge as more are being used to haul hay and feed to the drought-stricken areas in the southern Plains. Cost of feed is becoming a big issue from Texas to California and the latest winter outlook from NOAA shows no relief in sight for the area.

MO governor to lead trade mission to China

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is leading a Missouri trade mission to China on Friday with the intention of establishing ties with Chinese leaders and to sign a multi-billion dollar export deal. Missouri Pork Producers executive director Don Nikodim – who will be on the trip – says there are many opportunities for ag exports to China.

“We think there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity ahead of us,” Nikodim tells Brownfield, “I mean, China’s a very large country with a very rapidly growing middle class and upper class that have a lot of resources.”

Missouri pork exports to China rebounded this year after the H1N1 outbreak which affected exports in 2009 and ’10. U.S. beef exports to China, however, are another story. Missouri Chamber of Commerce president Dan Mehan says when the U.S. and Chinese governments come to agreement over our beef and their chicken, Missouri wants to be ready.

“We want to be sitting on their doorstep,” says Mehan, “And that’s the whole purpose of continuing to beat that drum and make sure that they understand that Missouri beef is quality product. And, as the largest middle class in the middle of the planet starts enjoying more and more higher priced items, Missouri beef should be one of them.”

China still has a ban on U.S. beef imports after one cow in Washington State was found to have BSE in 2003.

Representatives from the Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Corn Growers will also be on the trip.

China is Missouri’s third-largest export market with more than 770-Million dollars worth of goods exported so far this year including corn, soybeans, chemicals, and steel. The Missouri trade mission is from October 21st through the 29th.

~Missourinet contributed to this report~

Solid finish for corn and wheat

Soybeans ended the session very narrowly mixed, bouncing off of the lows thanks to oversold signals and spillover from wheat and corn. Past that – there was no fresh news and weekly export sales were lower than expected. Still, the cash basis is firm and soybeans managed to avoid a fourth straight lower close. Soybean meal was higher and bean oil was weak on the adjustment of product spreads. According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, Argentina’s soybean planted area should be up modestly on the year but could increase more substantially if weather doesn’t cooperate for corn planting.

Corn was higher on fund and end user buying. Farmer selling remains slow and harvest has been delayed by rain in some key areas of the Cornbelt. Weekly export sales were more than 1.7 million tons, but that was at the low end of estimates and shipments are slow. Ethanol futures were mixed. Ukraine’s President signed a recently passed law ending Kiev’s export tariff on corn, wheat, and barley. Dow Jones Newswires reports 42.8% of Argentina’s corn crop has been planted, considerably behind last year at this time due to drier than normal weather during September.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and fund buying. Kansas City led the way up on continued concerns about the much drier than normal conditions in the Southern Plains. Exports were below estimates but shipments were more than what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the marketing year. European wheat was lower on broader economic uncertainties connected to E.U. debt issues and the large available supply. South Korea bought 110,000 tons of feed wheat, Bangladesh picked up 50,000 tons of wheat from India, and Japan purchased 102,652 tons of wheat (52,499 tons Canadian western red spring, 29,360 tons Australian standard white, and 20,793 tons U.S. dark northern spring).

ISU team wins soil judging contest

A team of Iowa State (ISU) University students won the 2011 American Society of Agribusiness Region 5 Collegiate Soil Judging Contest in Pierre, South Dakota in September. Eight Midwest universities and 61 students competed in the contest.

The team will travel to the national competition for the sixth consecutive year this spring. An Iowa State team has won the regional contest three of the last four years.

The 2011 team also was first place in the group section of the contest. Four members of the team scored in the top ten in the individual contest: Ben Butcher of Palmer, IA, Tyler Reimers from Denison, Scott Shannon of Irwin, and Matt Riessen of Schleswig.  

The contest consisted of teams preparing detailed descriptions of soil horizons or layers, classifying soils according to U.S. soil taxonomy, determining geological characteristics of the site, making topographic and hydrologic measurements and interpreting soil properties for agriculture and urban land use.

Feds seize food products from IL warehouse

An Illinois warehouse is under federal investigation and US Marshals have seized food products from it. A warrant issued by the federal district court of Northern Illinois was issued after the Food and Drug Administration reported unsanitary conditions at the Chetak Chicago LLC warehouse in Streamwood, Illinois. Among the findings at the warehouse were “rodents and rodent carcases, gnawed product packaging and significant amounts of rodent fecal matter.”

The FDA says among the goods seized by U.S. Marshalls on Monday (October 17th) were peanuts, flour, and rice. The Illinois Department of Public Health has had those items embargoed since mid-August.

FDA news release regarding Illinois warehouse

Feedlot cattle trade at higher prices than last week

USDA Mandatory reported cattle trading was moderate in the Southern Plains on moderate to good demand. Live sales traded mostly 1.00 to 2.00 higher than last week at 120.00 to 121.00. A light cattle trade was reported in Nebraska and Iowa with live sales 120.00 to 121.50, and dressed sales 3.00 higher than last week at 190.00 to 192.00. Packers continue to slow chain speed and Thursday’s slaughter was 118,000 head, 8,000 less than last week, and down 12,000 from last year.

Boxed beef values were steady to firm with moderate demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice beef was up .04 at 185.08, and select was .59 higher at 167.32.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 40 points higher to 115 lower. Futures were pressured by the lack of outside support much of the session, but started to firm by midsession. There was some profit taking. Higher cash prices also lent support to futures. October was up .05 at 121.45, but December was down 1.15 at 121.80.

Feeder cattle ended the session 22 higher to 62 lower. Nearby futures were pressured as traders focused on November and January placements. Higher corn values also weighed on feeder contracts. October settled .07 higher at 139.27 and November was down .62 at 142.02.

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 20, 2011

Dec. corn closed at $6.49 and 1/2, up 11 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $12.25, unchanged
Dec. soybean meal closed at $320.30, up $1.00
Dec. soybean oil closed at 51.39, down 9 points
Dec. wheat closed at $6.30 and 3/4, up 11 and 1/4 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $121.45, up 5 cents
Dec. lean hogs closed at $89.97, down 10 cents
Nov. crude oil closed at $85.30, down 81 cents
Dec. cotton closed at 96.86, down 286 points
Nov. Class III milk closed at $17.42, up 6 cents
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 11,541.78, up 37.16 points