In Farm Bureau
Thanksgiving dinner price drops It will cost families less to prepare the Thanksgiving meal this year, due largely to lower prices for frozen turkey and a gallon of whole milk. According to Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 28th annual survey, it will cost $42.63 for a family of 10, or $4.26 per person, to enjoy the feast. Last year’s average was $45.12. The statewide average is based on responses from members of the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and other volunteers who surveyed food prices at 11 grocery stores and across the state. They were asked to report the best in-store price of 12 items included in the meal. They are allowed to take advantage of advertised specials, excluding discount coupons and purchase requirements. ArFB President Randy Veach says the drop in the cost of the meal is remarkable, especially in light of the drought farmers have endured the past several years. “The fact the cost of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is more than $2 lower
The ArFB State Resolutions Committee met Nov. 6-7 in North Little Rock to refine and consolidate county policy proposals into a set of formal recommendations to be considered by voting delegates at the state convention next month. The committee was made up of nearly 85 county Farm Bureau leaders. ArFB Vice President Rich Hillman (at lectern) led the meeting’s general session. Counties submitted 442 resolutions for consideration. than last year remains a testament to the efficiencies of our food production system,” he said. “Though the drought eased somewhat this year, American farmers and ranchers continue to face high energy and production costs. Yet because of their reliance on the latest research and technology, consumer prices for food products remain stable and are actually declining in some sectors. Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel will give two performances at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention in San Antonio—one at 9 a.m., Jan. 12 in an exclusive event for county Farm Bureau presidents, and a 10:30 a.m. performance the same day during the convention’s opening general session. The band has won nine Grammys and made 30 albums.
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“Because we have such a bountiful supply, American families will be able to enjoy this meal and share it with others. That is truly reason to give thanks.” New farm game The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has released a new educational game entitled “Power Up” that helps young learners discover the impor-
A Publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation
November 22, 2013 • Vol. 16, No. 22
Belinda Woodard Wright, a Scott Co. FB Women’s Committee member, is a talented photographer. She recently was honored when some of her photos were used on motivational posters for students at Waldron Middle School. The caption on this “Boot and Spur” photo reads “Respect: Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Congratulations, Belinda.
In Arkansas Soybean Research Summit The 2013 Arkansas Soybean Research Summit will cap a record-breaking year with a panel discussion featuring the growers who broke the 100-bushel-per-acre barrier, along with University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture experts who will share advice for a great 2014 growing season. “We have a solid lineup we think will answer many of the most common
concerns and questions Arkansas soybean growers may have had through the 2013 growing season,” said Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the UofA’s Division of Agriculture. The conference is set for Dec. 17 at the Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds in Jonesboro. The event, sponsored by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board,
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tance of energy in agriculture. In this comic-book-style game, players visit regions facing energy crises, review each situation and fire up the “Energy Expert 5,000” to keep Energy Land running. The game offers a whole new experience for My American Farm users, as they adjust a virtual energy meter to designate energy sources for a region in need. After playing the game, learners will understand the importance of having a balanced energy plan and discover energy as an important sector in the agriculture industry. Accompanying the game is a new eComic, “Lights Out,” which invites learners to join Benjamin P. Farmington as he travels through time with his great-grandfather to learn how energy has changed. The new game and resources can be found at www. myamericanfarm.org/games/power_up.
The Garland Co. FB’s Women’s Committee sponsored a Dutch oven cook-off in Hot Springs on Oct. 26. Participants prepared main dish and dessert recipes, and certificates were awarded to the winners. The event was designed to promote agriculture in the county, with recipes featuring locally grown produce and food products.
Lonoke County farmer Robby Bevis of Scott uses the Arkansas Farm Bureau app to check the latest news, weather updates and market prices. Bevis also checks the calendar of events on a regular basis so he will not miss important meetings. The app is available for download on iPhone and Android mobile devices.
The National Association of Farm Broadcasters annual reporting awards were called Oscars until the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requested the practice stop. NAFB says the awards now will be called “The Doans,” to honor the late Stewart Doan, an Arkansan who covered agricultural policy news from Arkansas to Washington D.C. for more than 30 years. opens at 8 a.m. with registration and ends with lunch at 12:15 p.m. There’s no cost to attend. Contact Jeremy Ross at 501-6712148 for more information. Record crop yields Despite a soaking start to the 2013 growing season, Arkansas farmers will likely end 2013 with yield records in corn, cotton, soybeans and rice, according to projections released Nov. 8 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The NASS “Crop Production” report said: • Corn yielded 182 bushels per acre. The previous record, 178 bushels per acre, was set in 2012. Arkansas farmers harvested 855,000 acres of corn. • Cotton yielded 1,120 pounds per acre from 300,000 harvested acres. This beats the record of 1,112 pounds per acre set in 2004. • Rice yielded 7,550 pounds, or 168 bushels per acre. Arkansas farmers harvested 1.07 million acres. • Soybean state average yield was 45 bushels per acre from 3.2 million harvested acres. This beat the 43-bushel-per-acre record set last year. • Sorghum didn’t set a record but came in at 88 bushels per acre, up four bushels from last year.
Soybean Month On Nov. 4, at the Arkansas State Capitol, Gov. Mike Beebe proclaimed November as Arkansas Soybean Month. The purpose of Arkansas Soybean Month is to shine a spotlight on the immense contribution made by Arkansas soybean farmers to the state’s economy and to encourage Arkansans to actively seek out and purchase products that contain soy ingredients. By purchasing products made with soy, you are helping support your local Arkansas soybean farmers. Soybeans are grown by thousands of farmers in 50 of Arkansas’ 75 counties. Last year, Arkansas produced 122 million bushels of soybeans valued at $1 billion. Arkansas’ poultry and livestock industries make our state the third-largest consumer of soybean meal, and Arkansas ranks 10th in the nation in soybean production.
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Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting on Jan. 30 in Stuttgart. The meeting’s theme is “Conservation Matters,” with a focus on how rice fields provide critical resting and foraging habitat for migratory ducks.
Clay Co. FB Women’s Committee member Debbie Pollard (left) presented prizes to Piggott Elementary sixth graders (left to right) Destiny Robinson, Jawslyn Gates and Chloe Baker who were winners in the county’s “Thank a Farmer” poster contest. Top winner Destiny Robinson will go on to compete in the state poster contest sponsored by ArFB.
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Last month, NASS projected a record winter wheat yield of 62 bushels per acre, up from the old state record of 61 bushels set in 2006.
UofA animal-science professor Tom Troxel encourages Arkansas ranchers to contact their county extension agent for information on conducting a forage test, which is critical to ensure the winter health of beef cattle. “A forage test helps determine hay quality,” he said. “When the hay’s protein and energy values are known, a proper supplement can be used to balance the diet.” “We are honored to have Dale Hall join us as we commemorate the newfound partnership between the U.S. rice industry and Ducks Unlimited,” said Ben Noble, Arkansas Rice Federation Executive Director. “Our goal is to highlight the unique relationship between rice production and waterfowl conservation.” For more information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, call 501375-1000 or email arkansasricefarmers@ gmail.com. Cattle conference set for Texarkana Beef producers recovering from the decimating 2012 drought will have a chance to discuss their progress at the Four States Cattle Conference next month. The Dec. 5 conference will be held at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana, where producers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas will gather. Paul Beck, associate professor for UofA’s Division of Agriculture, says there have been significant changes to how ranchers operate in the region. “Drought, high feed prices and low cattle numbers have hit producers in the pocketbook,” he said, but strategies will be offered at the conference that may help ranchers stay in business. Long-term market and weather outlooks, parasite control and other topics are on the agenda. The full program brochure and a mailin registration form can be found online at
Elsewhere Skilled CFTC members wanted Nineteen agricultural organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, have written a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he consider nominating, with the Senate’s consent, at least one person to serve on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that has “a genuine background and experience in agricultural commodity futures markets.” The coalition told the president that historically commissioners have “intricately understood agricultural futures markets, as well as the underlying physical markets themselves.” Two CFTC seats will be vacant by the end of this year and a third commissioner recently announced his expected departure in the not too distant future. Futures markets were created “to hedge price exposure in agricultural commodities,” the coalition said, and futures markets remain integral to agriculture’s businesses. Nominating and confirming an individual experienced in agricultural commodity markets and commodity futures trading can help ensure their specific concerns will be heard and understood. Editor Keith Sutton
In the Market As of November 20, 2013 Corn and Soy Fall Despite Good USDA Report After skipping the October Supply and Demand Report due to the partial government shutdown, the USDA released what some termed a super report in November. This term arose as the USDA skipped the October report that would typically give the market a first look at this year’s crop. By the time the November report was released, harvest was well underway across the United States, and the market was already digesting what appeared to be a very large corn and soybean crop. Record crops in the South combined with large yields in the Midwest had the market expecting corn stocks of more than 2 billion bushels and soybeans close to 200 million bushels. When the report finally came out, the USDA exceeded the average market expectation for the yield. However, corn and soybean production came in lower than expected after the USDA lowered harvested acreage for both crops. The 2-million-acre decline in corn acres, which the market had suspected was missing since June, finally materialized as harvested acreage was reduced some 1.9 million acres. Soybeans also saw a 700,000-acre decline. Both these declines were able to offset most of the increases seen in yield. The remainder of the supply was almost completely offset by increases in demand. With this report more bullish than many expected, prices rallied on the Friday following the report. However, during the last two weeks, the corn market has given back all its gains and set a new low. Soy-
beans made a brief run above $13, then moved back toward support at $12.50. So what has happened to prices, and where are they heading in the near term? After rallying on Friday, corn prices began to fall on Monday as the market became concerned about corn’s ability to meet the demand forecast. A disappointing export report on Monday supported this notion. While current price levels make U.S. corn the cheapest corn on the market, the market is still waiting for consistent strong demand to show up in reports. Also holding corn prices back were rumors that the EPA would cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014. This was confirmed Nov. 15 when the EPA proposed to cut the RFS for ethanol in 2014 to 13.01 billion gallons. This is more than 1 billion gallons lower than levels set within the law. The RFS was lowered because of declining gasoline consumption, and the proposed level is more in line with a 10-percent blend. While news of the lower mandate has lowered prices, demand for corn by ethanol facilities remains strong. While the RFS is at 13.01 billion gallons, if the market is there, facilities can produce more than the mandate and even export ethanol in certain situations, which may limit the long-term effect of this policy on the market. As we move into the coming weeks, corn prices are likely to move lower before setting a harvest low around $4. As prices move beyond the first of the year, current low prices will likely offer good pricing opportunity for end users and help bolster demand, which should help prices move back to the $4.50, and maybe even the $5, range. Soybean prices remain difficult to forecast, given the large production potential of South America. The latest USDA report provided strong
support for soybean prices after it raised exports some 90 million bushels. With more than 86 percent of these exports already sold, it’s very likely this USDA forecast will be met. With confirmation that demand is strengthening, soybeans saw a strong rally and likely saw one of their last opportunities to price soybeans above $13 for some time. As we move into December and January, prices will become increasingly focused on South America. As weather improves and plantings get underway, the market is preparing for a record South American crop. If this crop materializes, we could see soybean prices weaken significantly as global stocks would increase more than 10 MMT or 17 percent from 2012-13. This type of increase in global stocks would provide a comfortable cushion for world buyers. Soybean producers should consider now a good opportunity to sell remaining supplies as a rally above $13 remains unlikely. As for next year’s crop, pricing will depend on South America. If their crop does not meet current market expectations, then we could see prices stay in the $12 range. However, if the crop materializes or is bigger than expected, then soybean prices will be between $10 and $11 or even lower.
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Thanksgiving dinner price drops; New farm game; Soybean Research Summit; Record crop yields; Soybean Month; Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting; C...