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Phase I Trade Deal Possible, $40B Per Year at Stake I hope everyone experienced a good holiday season with family and friends. Soon, 2019 will be a blur in the rear view mirror, and will be remembered as one for the record books. From the low prices received, to the extremely adverse weather conditions, and on to the trade wars and tariffs, it was a year that has caused way too much uncertainty and stress. Add to that, I am concerned that 2019, will have a long tail with lasting hardship into the future. A recent article from my own state of Wisconsin summed it up, saying delinquent farm loans and bankruptcies are at record levels. We all know that we cannot control the weather, but we also know we would be in much better shape to weather the storms if we were receiving cost of production plus a reasonable profit, which is all that we have asked for from the system and the markets. Maintaining a fair price and getting it out of the marketplace through collective bargaining should not be that hard for farmers to understand. This seems like a much better solution than letting the buyers set the price and expecting the government to bail us out. On a more positive note, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for all of their efforts through a difficult year. They often find themselves as the first line of communications with producers, regardless of commodity. They are expected to have answers at a time when some answers are hard to come by, and quick solutions are even harder to create. The administration, board of directors and staff are all working together to make every effort to provide some relief for our producers. We must also make every effort to make 2020 a better year for everyone’s sake. Convention 2020 is scheduled for February 10-12 in Bloomington, Minnesota. Our theme is 20/20 Marketing Vision, which properly emphasizes the organization’s top-tier marketing programs. Headline speakers include National Farmers Union Vice President Patty Edelburg and Dr. Harwood Schaffer, University of Tennessee. Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Peterson will speak, as well as Gary Wertish, NFU Minnesota State President. Dr. John Ikerd, University of Missouri, will talk to members, as well as Dr. Dennis Todey, from USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub. Wednesday, February 12 is election day, as well as commodity day. Whether you are a dairyman, cattle producer or grain grower, you won’t want to miss our annual winter meeting. Pick up the phone and call the Hilton Hotel and make your reservations right now, before rates go up on Jan. 18. And, be sure to lock in your convention registration rate before you arrive in Bloomington, Minn.


Minnesota’s Rohr Announces Candidacy for National President After much soul searching, and encouragement from others, I have decided to run for NFO President. Paul has served for 20 years, and that is a long time. Even a good man, which Paul is, does get tired and run out of new ideas in time. I think it would be beneficial to NFO, and all of agriculture, to have new and enthused leadership in the only major farm organization that believes in and uses collective bargaining. I think we need to be more visible; the office of president of a national farm organization does carry some importance. I think that person needs to be at all kinds of meetings, whether they are policy meetings put on by government or commodity groups. We need to remind all of them that price is the issue, and a fair price will cure the big problems rural America is facing. And if farmers are paid as they should be paid, there will be enough money in rural America to fix many of the smaller problems. Agriculture media is a big business; if we are at these meetings and speak up, farmers nationwide will know that NFO is still around. Furthermore, what is happening to family farmers need not be happening, because in 1922, Congress gave farmers the right to market together in the Capper-Volstead Act. The buy side has continuously manipulated farmers, small processors and the government to buy our production for less than it costs to produce it. Family farmers do not need to be in the position they are in. There are many groups out there that do support family farms; we need to search them out and work with them where and when we are able to do so. Come to the NFO national convention in February to help chart the path for the next four years.

Montana’s Shultz Says He’ll Run for National Vice President I am Bruce Shultz, national director from Montana for the past three years, and on the Executive Board for the last two. I am announcing my candidacy for NFO vice president. My wife, Wendy, and I moved to her family ranch in 1992. She is a second generation NFO member. We bought our first bred cows in 1993, and joined NFO in1994. We operate a 100- head cow-calf operation in the foothills of the Little Belt Mountains in Judith Basin County. We raised our two children, Jack and Georgia, on the ranch and they still help with haying and working cattle. Before we even bought our first cows, my father-in-law, Tom Palmer, would take me to state and local meetings. It did not take long for me to buy in completely to NFO. Within two years, I was the cattle blocker for our area. I worked with all our producers and was the go-between for our marketer and the membership. I was responsible for getting everyone and everything organized for our calf shipments along with cull cows. In 1997, I was elected the state’s Livestock Committee Treasurer. In 2001, I also became the state treasurer-secretary. I held all three of these positions until I was elected National Director for Montana. I still maintain the job of Judith Basin County Treasurer. I realize that there are many issues facing farmers and ranchers today, the most glaring one is price of commodities at the farm gate. NFO is working on these issues, but I believe that we need to take a more prominent role nationally to push forward ideas and programs which will help family farms not only survive, but also thrive in the coming decades. I believe that our national officers need to be taking the lead working with other farm groups and when it is time, to lead with NFO ideas and principles; we need them to stand up and be the mouthpiece that is so desperately missing. Many good ideas come out of NFO, but we are at times too silent in bringing them to the national forefront. If I am elected, I plan on being vocal nationally for NFO. In times of dire circumstances, it is the bold thinkers and doers who prevail. We need to think more progressively to allow the family farm to prosper.

V.P. Riniker Says Farley Business Growth Model For Organization










ces and NFO Crop Insurance to market and and NFO Crop Insurance Farmers marketing services to market and elp you protect your financial future. ket smart and protect your financial future. you protect your financial future.


GRIP - HRO GRIP - HRO Group Risk Income Group Risk Income Protection with Harvest Protection with Harvest Revenue Option is a Revenue Option is a county-based revenue county-based revenue insurance product that insurance product that pays the producer in the pays the producer in the event the county average event the county average per-acre revenue falls per-acre revenue falls below the trigger below the trigger revenue level. GRIP-

GRP GRP Group Risk Protection Group Risk Protection (GRP) is a county-based (GRP) is a county-based insurance product that insurance product that pays the producer in the pays the producer in the event the county yield event the county yield falls below the trigger falls below the trigger yield. yield. GRP is a flexible GRP is a flexible program that allows the


Your National Farmers 20/20 Marketing Vision Convention is right around the corner, Fe it’s time to make your hotel reservation, due before January 18. After that date, rates could The big event takes place in Minneapolis-Bloomington at the Hilton MSP Airport-Mall rates are good for your stay anytime between February 7 and 15. Attendee highlights include a member social Monday, February 10, the President’s Dess February 11 and the popular band, Passion, wraps up the event February 12. At the 20/20 Marketing Vision winter meeting you will hear from USDA Midwest Clima Todey, who will talk about the latest approaches farmers can use to alter farming practices climate patterns. Minnesota Farmers Union State President Gary Wertish will also speak t February 10. On Tuesday morning, February 11, Dr. Harwood Schaffer, University of Tennessee, will issues impactful to maximizing a positive outcome for the U.S. Patty Edelburg, national vi Farmers Union, will take the stage in the afternoon and inform members about the latest p organization is prioritizing in agriculture. Edelberg is also a member of the Wisconsin Da Dr. John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agriculture and applied economics, University of M wrap the afternoon session and talk about farm and rural policy issues. Wednesday is National Farmers’ election day for offices of national president and vice p marketing presentations are also slated. In dairy, presenters will cover dairy policy and fe with Always Family Farms. Livestock’s guest presenter, Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo, Universi will focus on dairy, dairy beef and native beef. He will examine feeding and nutrition pra nutrition innovations. Grain will look at the new marketing year ahead, and provide crop The hotel cancellation policy is 24 hours before your reservation. Otherwise, you will be rate plus tax. Guests enjoy free parking. Please take note: when you register online, the fo day parking fee. That will be waived for National Farmers guests at checkout. Whether you are a dairy, livestock or grain producer, you will definitely want to make p member meeting. Plus, 2020 is an election year, so make your voice be heard.

ebruary 10-12. That means d go up. of America Hotel. Member

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Trade Agreements, Price Reporting News

Supplemental Farm Income Programs Not the Answer to Agriculture’s Financial Woes

By Pat Lampert There’s a lot happening in the news that has the ability to positively impact markets for cattle producers. The Phase I trade deal with China calls for the removal of tariffs on Chinese goods in stages, and they will increase imports from the U.S. as part of the agreement. We are hopeful this could mean more U.S. beef imports into that country. Meanwhile, we have a new trade deal with Japan. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says the U.S. is finally on a level playing field and expects U.S. beef and pork exports to Japan for 2020 to reach $2.3 billion for beef and $1.7 billion for pork. By 2025, that could reach the $5 billion level as consumption of U.S. red meat increases. On Dec. 12, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service hosted a producer meeting to review the findings and recommendations from a recent study of mandatory price reporting. Ted Schroeder and Glynn Tonsor, Kansas State University, and Lee Schulz, Iowa State University, looked at a couple of different options for updating the rule. The study explored the feasibility of reporting negotiated slaughter cattle purchases in separate 0-14 and 15-30 day delivery windows. It also considered realignment of states in the five-area reporting region. But they would continue to maintain confidentiality. Let’s not forget about the fact that the Tyson plant in Kansas expects to be 100 percent operational by the first of the year. And, USDA predicts a record large drop in beef production from fourth quarter 2019 to first quarter 2020. Then, a record large increase into 2020’s second quarter. I believe this is all favorable news for cattle producers as we head into the new year. Stay in touch with your local livestock marketing representative. Happy New Year.

By Dr. Harwood D. Schaffer and Dr. Daryll E. Ray, University of Tennessee With increases in the number of farm bankruptcy proceedings and suicides among farmers, it seems like we have been transported back to the 1980s and the farm crisis. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. At the beginning of this decade we were told that crop agriculture was on a new price plateau and the only problem would be the need to protect farmers against in-season price fluctuation—difference between price expectations at planting and actual prices at harvest. At that point, farm income was approaching record levels, and few were worried about the need for protection against an extended period of low prices. The August forecast of 2019 net farm income is $88.0 billion, down 21 percent from the peak of $123.7 billion in 2013. While net government payments were 11 percent of net farm income in 2013, the projection for this year is 22.1 percent. Tragically, these increased payments are not enough to stave off farm bankruptcies. In an article for Modern Farmer, Dan Nosowitz writes, “The Farm Bureau, a lobbying group that typically leans to the corporate side of farming, analyzed statistical data from the U.S. Courts concerning bankruptcy filings. For the year leading up to September 2019, American farm bankruptcies were up by a whopping 24 percent compared to the year before. During this mostly-2019 period, there were 580 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings” ( The largest number of filings was 48 in Wisconsin followed by Nebraska, Kansas, and Georgia with 37 filings each ( Though statistics on suicides by farm operators are difficult to quantify—some may be classified as accidental deaths—the level of calls to farm suicide prevention hotlines has increased as farmers have faced an extended period of below the cost of production farm prices. In addition to hotline reports, the trend in farm suicides can be seen in the increase in news stories on farm suicides by major media outlets. The current financial struggles in farm country cannot solely be laid at the feet of the current trade war with China. They began well before then and cannot be blamed on any single administration. We have seen a slow shift in the economic philosophy of farm programs since the Eisenhower administration. From our perspective, farm programs fell over the cliff with the passage of the 1996 Farm Bill and without the implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard the crisis agriculture is currently experiencing would have come much earlier. The attempt of current farm programs to solve the inherent problems facing the farm sector by enacting various programs to supplement farm income is doomed to failure. To start with, farm income supplementation programs are very expensive as we have seen in the increase in direct government payments Cfrom billion in C $11 R R O O P P I 2013 to a forecast $19.5 billion in 2019. Even with that increase, we see increasing farm debt, bankruptcies, and suicides. In addition, the benefits of farm income supplementation programs are unevenly spread among various farm constituencies. The programs that meet the needs of farmers in one area can be inadequate for farm operations in another region. What farmers need is a price for their production that covers the full cost of pro- Servic Utilizing NFO Marketing Serv Utilizing NFO Marketing With Nationa duction of a set of products that are required to meet human nutritional needs. Until protect your crops will and crop insurance, you’ll m protect your crops will he as a nation we can agree on the need for price support programs, we are doomed to CRO CROP INS repeat the boom-bust cycle that has plagued agriculture for millennia. RA HRO / CRC RA HRO / CRC Crop Revenue Coverage Crop Revenue Coverage and Revenue Assurance and Revenue Assurance with the Harvest with the Harvest Revenue Option sets a Revenue Option sets a minimum revenue minimum revenue guarantee for your crop guarantee for your crop operation by protecting operation by protecting you against revenue you against revenue losses. losses.

APH APH This plan is also widel This plan is also widely known as “Multi-Peri known as “Multi-Peril” crop insurance and set crop insurance and sets a minimum yield a minimum yield guarantee for a crop guarantee for a crop operation by replacing operation by replacing the production shortfa the production shortfall at a specified indemnit at a specified indemnity price. price.

Stop and Think About a Grain Sales Plan

Let’s Price Your Crops Now For Specific Delivery Windows

By Matt Brandyberry Grain Marketing Plus uses a multiple sales marketing framework, where forward contracts and hedge-to-arrive contracts for new crops are combined with cash sales and old-crop basis agreements. To better slot sales within that framework, we use incoming data similar to the Grain Marketing Plus Morning Review, which many producers receive from National Farmers, to determine when a sales period should be encouraged. The ultimate benefit for Grain Marketing Plus producers is the additional value realized when marketing grain at or above your production costs. The morning grain review states a number of facts about market situations, prices, trends, trade and more, and all of it is important. We want to provide facts, because that’s the right way to be doing this. These fundamental pieces of evidence show the situation as close to the actual picture as it can be—in terms of supply and demand. It is the best daily grains news review compilation there is, in my opinion. Interpretations of these facts are also important, because we want to provide some new thoughts and ways of thinking about known information and prepare for future developments. One aspect of Grain Marketing Plus that is constant, is the framework but interpretations are always evolving. We want to provide unique market insights and viewpoints to improve our customers’ marketing decisions. Many farmers have filled grain bins on or off the farm. Yet, there is still work to do, because not all of the crop has been priced. A rally or price improvement in some form will come. Let’s market new crops now, to capture the carry in the market. Have price targets in mind for both old crop and new crop. Then call me and we can space sales out across time. Many of you shouldn’t go more than a month or two without marketing a crop for a specified delivery timeframe now or into later months. Let Grain Marketing Plus service representatives be your right-hand marketing assistants. Have a terrific 2020 and please do consider making the trip to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area this February for national convention. Happy New Year!

Your questions Will Be Answered during Convention

Dairy Discussion Featured in Bloomington

By Brad Rach This year’s Dairy Division presentation at national convention in February will be especially important. Many of our members have their financial backs to the wall. Milk markets have been awful. Government support has been so bad that National Farmers President Paul Olson called for action in an editorial that was printed in several agricultural newspapers. It got a lot of attention. We have to do something and do it soon. What path will we take? That’s what I want to talk with you about during this year’s convention presentation. To set the stage, I have asked Dr. Richard Levins to give us an overview of where the current path we are on will lead us. Very large, investor-owned dairies mean less support for rural economies. Sooner or later, we will not only lose most of our family dairies, we will lose most of our dairy cooperatives as well. I have also asked National Farmers Milk Sales Director Dick Bylsma to get you up to speed about our Dairy Farm Structure Management Plan. Dick has had some productive meetings in Washington about Federal Milk Market Reform. He, like many other members of our other staff, have presented the program in various forums around the country. Increasingly, people like what they hear from us. The most important part of our presentation will come next—a discussion of what else you think we should be doing to get us back on the right track. Is it more policy work, more market work, or both? How can our wonderful members get even more involved in what must be done? Please come prepared to participate in our discussion of future directions. For those of you who won’t be able to join us in person, I ask that you send me your comments and suggestions before our convention presentation. I will do what I can to make sure they are part of our discussion, too. As always, I am proud to be working with you and look forward to building a better future for all of America’s dairy farmers.

Prices Received Index Down 2.6 Percent In October Commodity & Unit

Cotton, per lb. Wheat, per bu. Corn, per bu. Barley, per bu. Grain Sorghum, per cwt. Soybeans, per bu. Oats, per bu. Dry edible beans, per cwt. Milk (all), per cwt. Beef cattle (all), per cwt. Calves, per cwt. Hogs, per cwt.

Price Received 0.591 4.45 3.84 4.53 5.88 8.60 2.82 27.20 19.90 107.00 154.00 49.10

100 % Parity Parity Received In cents lb. 2.06 29 0.59 17.00 26 0.74 13.10 29 06.0 15.00 30 0.09 22.10 27 5.88 32.50 26 14.3 8.58 33 0.8 95.10 29 27.20 52.40 36 19.9 349.00 31 107.0 507.00 30 154.0 170.00 29 49.10

Donate Your Auction State Baskets



Fa romers

M � � � t-i n e,

January/February 2020




United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture

National Farmers Receives Beginning Conventional Farmer Grant National Farmers received a $600,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The three-year project will provide training, education, outreach and technical assistance to conventional farmers and ranchers in 15 states across the country. "Grain, dairy and livestock are the targeted emphasis for the new grant, the second one we've received of this kind, with special focus on beginning conventional producers;' said Dave Reed, project director and National Farmers national secretary. "I am very proud that our organization has been able to conduct be­ ginning organic farmer meetings the last four years, and I am certainly pleased we will be able to continue educational efforts now for conventional producers, as well:' National Farmers will conduct 36 meetings, or 12 each year. At the meetings, farmer mentees will be selected and participate in a continuing mentoring relationship for one year. Producers who have filed ten Schedule F tax returns or fewer, are eligible for a $200 stipend to attend the meetings. The first event is scheduled for Hopkinsville, Ky., January 15 at the Christian County Cooperative Extension Education Center. Matt Brandyberry will speak about grain marketing and risk management. Mike Kleaving will cover 2020 crop insurance and Curtis Mahnken, University of Minnesota, will present production costs for a range of commodities. Dairy and livestock topics will also be on the agenda. Tim Ennis, National Farmers special projects coordinator, will host. A second meeting has been set for Dyersville, Iowa, on Tuesday, January 28, at the Country Junction Restaurant.

Topics Financial and risk management training Farm financial benchmarking Feed grain marketing Risk management principles Estate and transition planning Organizational structure Capital budgeting Cooperative Marketing


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Profile for National Farmers

National Farmers Jan./Feb. Magazine  

National Farmers is an agricultural marketing organization for the nation's farmers and ranchers. Specializing in conventional and organic d...

National Farmers Jan./Feb. Magazine  

National Farmers is an agricultural marketing organization for the nation's farmers and ranchers. Specializing in conventional and organic d...