Million Meal Marathon to fight food insecurity

In an effort to combat hunger - the Indianapolis Colts, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, and Indiana Soybean Alliance will come together for the second annual Kids Against Hunger of Central Indiana’s “Million Meal Marathon”.  As part of “Community Tuesday” more than 2,000 volunteers will pack nutritious meals at Lucas Oil Stadium that will be distributed through Gleaners, Midwest Food Bank, and Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana to help the one in four Hoosier children who are food insecure.

Colts Defensive End Cory Redding, spokesman for the Colts and Indiana Corn and Soybean “Hoosier Horsepower” program will kick of the event by packing meals with FFA students from 9:30 to 10:30 Tuesday morning.

In addition to the Million Meal Marathon, the goal of the “Hoosier Horsepower” program is to feed enough Indiana children to fill Lucas Oil Stadium.

For every tackle the Colts make this season $10 will be donated to Kids Against Hunger.

Thanksgiving dinner a little cheaper in Wisconsin

Last week the American Farm Bureau reported the annual Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is going to cost $49.48 this year, a little more than last year. But that is not the case in Wisconsin; the Wisconsin Farm Bureau says the dinner for ten in the Badger State will cost an average $48.88, down $1.29 from last year.

The 16-pound turkey is going to cost $22.72, 49-cents more than the national average but 48 cents less than the Wisconsin bird cost a year ago. Casey Langan with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau says that price could go down as the survey was taken in October and turkey prices could decline as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

More affordable items in Wisconsin were whipping cream, rolls, sweet potatoes, green peas, pie shells and carrots and celery for a relish tray. The items that rang up more expensive in Wisconsin than the national average were cube stuffing, whole milk, fresh cranberries and pumpkin pie mix. Langan says the farmer’s share of the 48.88 spent on the Thanksgiving meal is down to $7.82 or just 16%.

Americans will consume nearly 46 million turkeys this Thanksgiving; we lead the world in annual turkey consumption.

Nominations now open for Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board

Nominations are now being accepted for three seats on the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board. Up for election this year are seats representing Districts 4, 8 and 9. Farmers who grow and sell corn in those districts are eligible to nominate someone or be nominated; nominations are due to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection by November 30th. Elections will be held via mail December 17 through January 5, the new three-year terms being in February.

North American tractor sales good in October

U.S. tractor sales showing continued strength through October. The monthly report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) shows 20,269 tractors were sold in the country in October, up 29.3 percent from October of last year. Two-wheel-drives made up most of the sales with 19,087 sold. Of those, 8,532 were under 40 horsepower, 5,735 were 40 to 100 horsepower and 4,820 were over 100 horsepower. There were 1,182 four-wheel-drive tractors sold in October.

Year-to-date tractor sales through October total 157,058, up 10 percent from a year ago. 151,380 of those are two-wheel-drives and more than half of those are under 40 horsepower. Four-wheel-drive sales year-to-date are up 12 percent on the year at 5,678 units.

Self-propelled combine sales were up 45 percent in October at 1,768 units. Year-to-date self-propelled combine sales in the U.S. are 7/10ths of a percent behind last year at 8,383 machines.

Canadian tractor sales in October totaled 3,683 up 5 percent from October of 2011. 3,366 of the units sold were two-wheel-drive. October self-propelled combine sales totaled 553, up 27 percent from a year ago.

Year-to-date tractor sales are up 3 percent in Canada at 21,323 while self-propelled combine sales are down a half-percent at 2,496 units.

Read the AEM October U.S. report here:

Read the AEM October Canadian report here:

Cash cheese continues to slide

Cash cheese prices continue to slide on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Barrels slipped a quarter-cent to $1.8325 on Monday but blocks dropped another 6.25 cents to close at $1.8575. There were 14 loads of blocks sold.

In the last week, cash cheese barrels have lost 23.75 cents and blocks have fallen 25.25 cents and the December Class III has dropped $1.22. Ironically, the November Class III futures are up 61 cents.

Traders just seem a little nervous about just how big of an impact Hurricane Sandy is going to have on dairy product sales. Still a lot of people who did not have electricity in the Northeast last week and that means they weren’t buying cheese and yogurt and other items which require refrigeration.

Milk production in New Zealand and Australia is reportedly at or near seasonal peaks. Dairy Market News says handlers report the peaks are above year-ago levels as weather conditions are conducive to milk production. Processors are reportedly very near full capacity. Right now they are projecting milk production to be 3 to 4 percent above last year in New Zealand and around 2 percent higher in Australia.

AC21 to present recommendations

Challenged to develop recommendations to strengthen coexistence between different agricultural production methods, the USDA Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) finalized their recommendations last week and will present them to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as early as this week.

“The recommendations are that the USDA needs to get more involved in the stewardship, education and incentive programs for farmers to talk about coexistence,” said Alan Kemper of Indiana, Chairman of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and member of the AC21 committee. “If USDA collects data that actually shows compensation is needed, then they should use a crop insurance model.”

Kemper tells Brownfield one of the challenges the AC21 committee faced was the overall lack of good data.

“We did not see anything that showed GE was harming any organics, so if you have data fine, if not, then you shouldn’t go forward with the program,” Kemper said.

Audio: Alan Kemper, AC21 Committee (3:50 mp3)

Big losses for grains and oilseeds

Soybeans were sharply lower on follow-through fund and technical selling. There was no fresh news due to the observance of Veteran’s Day and there was also no new commercial interest to start out the week. The trade’s watching South American planting and development conditions, which look generally favorable. Soybean meal and oil were lower following the lead of beans. Losses in oil were limited by product spread adjustments. China’s National Grain and Oils Information Center reports October soybean imports were 4.03 million tons, down 19% on the month but up 6% on the year and larger than originally expected. The Center adds soybean imports could hit a record 57 million tons, compared to 52.6 million in 2011. China’s General Administration of Customs states edible oil purchases during October were 900,000 tons, an increase of 5% from September and a jump of 76% from October 2011.

Corn was sharply lower on fund and technical selling, along with spillover from beans. Corn was also looking at a lack of fresh news due to the holiday and those South American crop conditions are bearish for corn as well. Additionally, export demand remains much slower than expected. Dow Jones Newswires adds the cash corn basis has been “highly variable” with aflatoxin an issue in some areas. Crop progress numbers are delayed until Tuesday afternoon and harvest should be pretty much wrapped up at this point anyway. Ethanol futures were lower. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry states corn exports from July 1 to November 9 are 3.1 million tons.

The wheat complex was sharply lower on technical and fund selling, in addition to spillover from beans. There was no fresh supportive news for wheat either and even with a possible ban, Ukraine’s exports are moving out at a record pace. According to Dow Jones Newswires, wheat exports from the start of the marketing year July 1 to November 9 are 4.57 million tons, 3.74 million of that milling wheat, with the total for all grains at 9.42 million tons. In any event, overall export demand for U.S. wheat hasn’t seen the anticipated increase. The trade’s watching global crop conditions along with the mixed forecast for the dry Southern U.S. Plains. Eastern sections of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas have received rain recently, but on the whole, the entire region remains much drier than normal. European wheat was lower on the losses in Chicago and Friday’s USDA numbers. DTN reports Bahrain bought 30,000 tons of optional origin wheat and Taiwan is tendering for 68,200 tons of U.S. wheat.

Futures trading slowed by the holiday

Cattle country was quiet on Monday following the distribution of the new showlists. The ready offering of steers and heifers appears to be generally larger especially in the South. A few of the showlists have been priced around 126.00 plus in the South and 198.00 plus in the North. Significant trade volume may not develop until sometime in the second half of the week. The cattle slaughter totaled 113,000 head, 5,000 smaller than last week and 10,000 below last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were higher on choice and steady on select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice beef ended the day 1.43 higher at 193.30, and select was up .15 at 173.71.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled unchanged to lower despite holding nearly steady through much of the morning session. Contracts closed lower based on the continued pressure in the grain complex. Rick Kment at DTN says the direction of the fed cattle market is more a reflection of overall general market buyer interest, and the lightly traded holiday traffic was cautious to step into the market as buyers. December settled .40 lower at 125.35, and February was unchanged at 129.35.

Feeder cattle were mostly 25 to 62 points higher with only spot November in the red. The losses in the corn market allowed for light support to develop in the deferred contracts. The lack of overall trade activity through most of the markets due to the holiday kept prices from moving in a wide range. November was down .20 at 144.00, and January was up .35 at 145.95.

[Read more...]

A love of horses and a passion for FFA

Bethany Jones from the Wilson Central FFA Chapter in Tennessee recently was awarded the National FFA Proficiency in Equine Placement.  Over the course of her FFA career Bethany has been working other people’s horses and keeping record books.  She says without a neighbor none of this would have been possible.

AUDIO: Bethany Jones, Wilson Central FFA (3:00mp3)

Discussing the 2012 Elections

Farm Foundation is a not for profit organization that works to provide information to create a deeper understanding of issues facing agriculture. 

Farm Foundation’s Mary Thompson says for the last few years they have been putting on forums to engage others with questions about agriculture.  “It seemed appropriate that our November 14th forum will be on what the 2012 Elections will mean for food, agriculture, and rural policies,” she says. 

Thompson tells Brownfield the panelists are from various fields within the agriculture industry.  They consist of:  Craig Jagger, Legis Consulting; Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Robert Paarlberg, Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College; Christopher Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute, Consumer Federation of America; John Hardin, Indiana farmer; Erik Johnston, Associate Legislative Director for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, National Association of Counties. 

“They will be there to provide some perspectives on what they see happening,” she says.  “Following their presentations – the panelists will be available for questions and discussions.”

The upcoming Farm Foundation Forum takes place Wednesday, November 14, 2012 from 9:00am to 11:am EDT at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  Thompson says because of the increased interest in this forum – it will also be webcast and archived for replay. 

A link to the registration information can be found HERE.

 AUDIO: Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation (4:15mp3)