Page 1

July/August 2019

The O’Reillys, Ben (l), Steve (c), and Zach (r) produce organic milk near Goodhue, Minnesota.

Shamrock Farm O’Reilly O’Reilly Organic Organic Dairy Dairy

Farmers Need USMCA Passage

Aggie Scholars

Dairy Legislation


National Farmers Says USMCA Must Pass Soon to Help Farmers Since I wrote the last President’s Message for the May/June Dairy Month edition, the ag barometer of rural America has continued to move in the wrong direction. Major flooding, below normal temperatures, tariffs and trade wars have placed producers in possibly the worst economic position in history. For example, in early June, analysts reported that only 66 percent of the corn was planted nationally, yet grain markets dropped substantially. Does nothing make sense anymore? As the tweets continue from the White House, the market volatility, uncertainty and economic impact on rural America’s communities is becoming unbearable. National Farmers members, and all farmers deserve better. Much better conditions to grow the food and fiber everyone needs. In early June, I sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, sharing National Farmers’ concerns that our members understand must be addressed. I talked about both short-term and longer-term concerns and solutions. We reached out to members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees as well. Additionally, we communicated with state ag commissioners and secretarys across the country. During our outreach efforts, we included our proposal, the Dairy Farm Structure Management Program. Our propsal has received a great deal of positive press, and we believe the momentum for it is growing. The farm crisis we face is certainly not commodity specific. All of us are in this fight together, and this is the fight for the future of agriculture as we know it. And want to remember it. We spend a lot of time focusing on the economic pressures farmers face, but of course, there is a very human side. In my opinion, this farm crisis is more severe than the one ag producers faced in the 1980s. The lives and livelihood of so many good people are affected on a daily basis. It is long past time for every farm organization, and everyone involved in production farming, to stand together, with one united voice. I joined National Farmers Organization 50 years ago because I truly believed the organization had solutions for our farm. National Farmers is nationwide, involved in most farm commodities and had proven to me that the collective bargaining concept really worked. With that said, I am not so naive as to to believe we can change the world alone. In today’s global economy, we must embrace one another, keep an open mind and work with other ag groups so that we can to address agriculture’s problems. It is for the betterment of family farms National Farmers represents.

National Farmers Organization says USMCA must be passed soon so financially beleaguered farmers— battered by concentration, tariffs and trade uncertainty—will have a chance at better prices. In the past four years, American dairy producers have experienced a milk price decline of nearly 50 percent. Just last year, 2,800 dairy farmers went out of business. The Canadian government formally presented draft legislation to ratify the new North American Trade deal to parliament on May 29. “Failure to bring this approval to the floor would put American farmers and workers at risk. As a nation of free trade, we must do what is best for America,” said Rep. Bacon, R-Neb. “To do this, non-tariff barriers and unfair subsidies must be eliminated and replaced. USMCA offers a fairer playing field for America.” The 2015 Trade Promotion Authority Act outlines trade agreements’ procedures, and the next step is for the Trump administration to submit final text of the implementing legislation to Congress. By law that is required to occur 30 days before the bill to ratify USMCA is introduced in both chambers of Congress. On June 10, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, and the International Dairy Foods Association sent a letter to representatives of leading dairy producing states about how provisions of USMCA help the domestic dairy industry.

Washington

Monitor

News AG Extra

Organic Standards Clarified

The Organic Farmers Association and National Organic Coalition, along with National Farmers, requested USDA to clarify standards for container production and hydroponic after its statement of acceptance of hydroponics as organic in 2018. On June 3, the USDA National Organic Program released a memo clarifying that the legal requirements related to the three-year transition period apply to all container systems built and maintained on land. National Farmers and the other groups agree that organic integrity, uniform organic standards and enforcement are essential for the organic label. National Farmers leaders say all organic farms must be considered farm ecological systems and held to our national organic standards. A pot or container or a structure such as a hoop-house alone does not equate to a field or a farm and should not be considered to represent a whole farm system, members said through passing a policy position addressing hydroponic and container production.

2019 Market Facilitation Program Payments Announced

On June 10, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue released a statement about Market Facilitation Payments and natural disasters that have effected farmers. “Given the size and scope of multiple disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage, we will use up to $16 billion in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid to provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers,” Perdue said. In the coming weeks, USDA will provide information about the Market Facilitation Program payment rates and details of the various components of the disaster relief legislation. “USDA is not legally authorized to make Market Facilitation Program payments to producers for acreage that is not planted,” Perdue said. However, we are exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre market facilitation payment to folks who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested and for subsequent use of those cover crops for forage.


National Farmers Joins with 200 Ag Groups to End Mergers

Legislation supported by National Farmers Organization, NFU and more than 200 farm, food, rural, and consumer-advocacy organizations, delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills introduced by Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., Jon Tester, D-Mont. and Representative Mark Pocan, D-Wis. The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2019 calls for a moratorium on large agriculture and food manufacturing companies, as well as grocer mergers, so officials can evaluate the potential fallout on farmers, workers, consumers and communities. It also recommends improvements to antitrust enforcement. The bills were also introduced in the House and Senate last year. “In the past 20 years the U.S. has seen massive consolidation in the ag and food industry, and the result has been very negative on rural America and the people who grow the food we depend upon,” says National Farmers Legislative Coordinator Gene Paul. In the letter, the groups highlight the often negative impacts from a merger and acquisition trend that has dominated agriculture in the past 10 years. This wave of consolidation has contributed to falling farm prices and declining farm incomes and rural America. The bill would flag merger combinations of more than$160 million in sales or assets and establish a commission to study the impacts of consolidation in the food and agricultural sectors on farmers, rural communities, workers and consumers. The commission would also recommend any necessary changes to federal antitrust statutes or other laws and regulations to restore a fair and competitive agricultural marketplace. The letter, signed by groups from 46 states, urged other Members of Congress to co-sponsor the legislation to stop the mergers that threaten independent family I N N farmers, U R R A and A Ncommunities. N C C E E S S U consumers “Out-of-control consolidation has enabled big agricultural firms to control prices at every stage of the food chain, from farming to distribution, and Congress must do more toNFO allowCrop local Insurance farmers andto food systems vices and market andto esFarmers and NFO Crop Insurance to market and al marketing services be competitive, while establishing greater help you protect your financial future. arket smart and protect your financial future. lp you protect your financial future. market transparency for the American conP INSURANCE PRODUCTS OFFERED SURANCE PRODUCTS OFFERED sumer, ” said Pocan in a press release. GRP GRIP - HRO GRP GRIP - HRO

y l” ts

ll ty

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. GRIPrevenue level. GRIP-

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 program that allows the

Anna Slivka

Marlena Long

Miriam Cook

Achiever Farm Kids Scholars Intend to Give Back to Ag M-State young adults swept the 2019 Farm Kids for College competition, with three young women from Missouri, Montana and Michigan claiming the top spots each one earning a $1,000 scholarship. Marlena Long, Paris, Missouri, Anna Slivka, Winifred, Montana, and Miriam Cook, Pewamo, Michigan, won among a field of high school seniors whose applications touted respected FFA, 4-H and other community achievements. A graduate of Paris R-II High School, Long intends to attend University of Missouri to major in biochemistry/pre-medicine and agricultural business or leadership. Chip Kemp, director of member and industry relations for the American Simmental Association’s SimGenetics said, “She will use her talents and education to not only help herself, but also to help others and our entire industry.” Long loves the farm, as well. “I plan to always be involved in my family farm,” Long said. Long was involved in FFA during high school, serving as Paris chapter president, Missouri Area IV president and she participated on nationally-honored FFA Career Development Event teams. She was president of her 4-H club, and now serves as adviser. She also attended the Missouri Legislative Academy and University of Missouri Animal Science Academy. Looking at Big Sky Country ag achievements, Slivka graduated from Winifred High School and plans to attend Montana State University to major in agricultural communications. “Anna’s communications skills are exemplary…” said Cheryl Udelhoven, Slivka’s Winifred High School business teacher and Business Professionals of America adviser. Slivka placed 15th in the nation at the 2016 BPA National Leadership Conference in presentation management individuals. She presented in Creed Speaking at the National FFA Convention and was Bronze Division Creed Speaker. “I hope to work among ag broadcasters and continue to serve those around me,” Slivka said. “In addition to serving in the agricultural industry, I hope to serve my community, as well.” Raised on a small farm and ranch in central Montana, Slivka is directly involved in production agriculture, 4-H and FFA. She served as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president of her FFA chapter and was Class of 2019 president. Slivka was her county’s Star Greenhand and was named Montana FFA’s Most Inspirational Member. Michigan’s Cook, a graduate of Pewamo-Westphalia High School, is bound for Purdue University to major in agriculture economics. “I am involved in agriculture first through my family’s 300-cow rotational grazing dairy farm....I plan to come back to the family farm using all the marketing knowledge I gained with my degree to expand the farm,” she said. Cook was involved in Ionia FFA 2017-2019, and served as chapter president and Region V treasurer. She has competed and won awards in three national 4-H dairy judging contests, including World Dairy Expo. She has also participated in Clinton County 4-H, Clinton County Dairy Council, and Michigan Junior Holstein Association. “She wants to be able to make a difference by setting a high bar for herself and leaving a legacy that is worth remembering,” said Luann Learner, dairy quiz bowl and dairy management coach.

3


Shamrock Farm Cares A “I always enjoy working with the O’Reilly farm on anything that comes up, but it is rare that even a slight quality issue happens. But if I notice a slight-moderate change, I call Ben or Zach ASAP.” — Roger Nelson “I also like their work ethic. It is go, go, go and get it done. And be sure it is done correctly. I don’t see them doing anything half way. Like my dad always used to say, if you are not going to do it right, don’t do it at all. ” — Roger Nelson

On O’Reilly Shamrock Farm, a family dairy farm near Goodhue, Minnesota, pasture and form the basis for excellence in cow care. Steve operates the Holstein dairy farm with his sons, Zach and Ben. Including dry cows tallies up to 270, and they have 250-260 head of newborn calves to springing heifers. They number of crosses, but they’ve returned to milking primarily Holsteins for the production focuses on the cows leading the milking operation, with twice-a-day milking. Ben concent youngstock, and Steve’s work spreads more broadly across the operation, and he handles work than in the past. The O’Reilly bovine ladies receive a forage-based diet and time on summer pasture. “A more than six months old get most of their feed from the pasture. The cows get 35 to 40 pe feed off pasture in the summer. The heifers get about 80 percent of their diet off pasture in If the pasture gets short or dry, then we have to supplement,” Steve explains. When it comes to cow care, Steve says, they mainly focus on keeping the cows comforta keeping them clean and dry is a given. Shamrock Farm also belongs to the Dairy Herd Im Association, which helps them maintain care and quality, too. Additionally, they use Crys products if concerns arise, such as pneumonia or scours in calves. It’s good to have profes assist you with health concerns in cows or calves, Steve emphasizes. For pregnancy check concerns, they use their local veterinarian. O’Reilly sees benefits from the forage nutrition for the cows. “There’s a little higher butt don’t push them quite so hard that way. It seems like better health with higher forage con says. Certified organic milk producers, the O’Reilly farm is also a CROPP co-op operation Valley brand’s farm cooperative. The farm has pasture land of 250 acres. For crops, they raise hay, corn, and a small grain barley and peas. They seed it down to hay underneath, so the next year it’s hay. “One yea two-three years is the rotation,” he says. They typically raise 330 acres of hay, 130 acres of and 180 acres of corn. National Farmers serves as milk handler for CROPP farms in Minnesota, and Roger Ne O’Reillys’ dairy field representative. “He helps mainly “It was always one of my on quality. If there’s a quality issue, or if we get a high make it financially strong e count, he calls. He’s very good,” Steve says. if my kids wanted to stay [o “I always enjoy working with the O’Reilly farm on anything that comes up, but it is rare that even a slight they could. Organics has re in that.” — Steve O’Reilly quality issue happens,” Nelson says. “But if I notice a slight-moderate change, I call Ben or Zach ASAP. They are very good at getting back to me and telling me what, if anything, that they found. Our goal is to find the problem before it gets worse, wh one’s goal. Because of the premiums Organic Valley pays at present, it can add a fair amou milk check.” The family milks in a double-16 herringbone parlor, meaning they milk 32 cows at a tim means it takes three people to milk at capacity, and most of the time, they’re able to have t


About Cow Quality

d comfort

s, the herd y have a small n levels. Zach trates on the s more field

All the heifers ercent of their n the summer.

able first, and mprovement stal Creek ssionals to ks and routine

terfat, and you ntent,” Steve n, the Organic

n mix of oats, ar corn, hay small grains

elson is the

y goals to enough that on the farm] eally helped y

hich is everyunt to one’s

me. That also three people

working at milking time. With three working, it takes two to two and a half hours. One full-time employee and some high school kids help on the farm part of the year, mostly with milking. Steve and his wife, Beverly, raised Zach and Ben on the operation, and Zach became part of the farm full-time after he graduated from high school in 1994. Ben graduated in 2003, and has been there since, as well. Beverly used to work on the farm much more, before she and Steve’s extended family grew to include 23 grandchildren. Two grandsons help, too. Baxter and Maddox, Zach’s sons, help milk a fair amount, Steve “There’s a little higher butterfat, and says, but they help bale, do the feed cart and other you don’t push them quite so hard outside chores more. Through the summer, Baxter and that way. It seems like better health Maddox are around the farm a bigger share of the time, with higher forage content.” —Steve O’Reilly but during the school year, they’re involved in sports. “It was always one of my goals to make it financially strong enough that if my kids wanted to stay [on the farm] they could. Organics has really helped in that,” Steve says. The consistent pay price helped Beverly and him make room for the next generation, he says. The price stability is probably one of the main things that drew him into organics, Steve says. And that the methods are environmentally friendly, he adds. During the the last 25 years, organic production has made a huge difference financially, and knowing that you’ve been taking care of the environment at the same time, is gratifying, Steve says. Also, being successful raising families and experiencing the farm supporting the family with no off-farm job, these are facts that matter to Steve and Beverly. In 1973, he and his brother, Dave, started farming together and farmed organically, although there wasn’t a market for organic milk then, and they sold it on the conventional market. Years later, their farm was the first milk officially picked up by Organic Valley/CROPP in Minnesota. That was the first time Organic Valley sought milk outside of Wisconsin. Much credit goes to the trucking company owned and operated by Rich Kahn. His efforts were instrumental in establishing Organic Valley routes in the area. He received an award related to those efforts at Organic Valley’s recent annual meeting, as well. Steve and Dave farmed together until 2009, when three of Dave’s sons were farming with them, and they split from one operation to three. The family established two more separate dairy farms. Casey milks by himself, and Chris and Tony have a dairy together. All three farms produce organic milk. “I also like their work ethic,” Nelson says. “It is go, go, go and get it done. And be sure it is done correctly. I don’t see them doing anything half way. Like my dad always used to say, if you are not going to do it right, don’t do it at all. That is the way I see the O’Reillys – all of the O’Reilly families, for that matter. They try to do it right the first time and they do the best job they can.” Appreciation breeds the O’Reilly work ethic and quality. “I like cattle and it looks to me like a good way to make a living. I like to be outdoors. It’s a little something different every day,” Steve says. Zach and his wife, Dorothy, have seven children. Ben and his wife, Brittany, have six kids, sixth grade and younger.


Consumers Impact Cattle Producers By Pat Lampert Cattlemen and women can’t help but notice comments from environmentalists about our industry. We take the heat from unscientific assertions about how our animals impact climate change and we read about a UK tax proposal on red and processed meats. MeatFYI, an ag news headlines service, updates readers regularly about what is coming down the pike in our industry. You may remember in 2006, when the United Nations issued a report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow. It was responsible for the misinformation about animal ag and its impact on the environment. It said livestock contributed 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to MeatFYI, I read an article about new research from the University of California Davis, Department of Animal Science, that says our industry only contributes just more than three percent of total greenhouse gasses. If more consumers become aware of the research, it could take the heat off our industry.This matters to the perception about beef, and future consumption of our product. Speaking of heat, there is a move to develop a cattle breed that can better withstand hotter conditions. This is important because, if climate predictions are right, then we will need cattle that can withstand those warmer temperatures. And we know the world wants more beef. In fact, projections for the next decade say beef consumption will outpace the growth of chicken and pork. Now that’s good news for producers, and our entire industry. If you produce cattle, call our representatives and hear the latest about how to put more money in your pocket for all your hard work.

Economists Ray, Schaeffer On Surviving Trade

Despite the early May hope that the U.S. and China would come to an agreement on trade that would end China’s retaliatory tariffs on agricultural imports from the U.S., nothing is on tap as of June 6. In what appears to be an attempt by the administration to pressure the Chinese into a deal by announcing additional tariffs on Chinese goods, the Chinese did not blink. Instead, they headed home. Without a reopening of the Chinese market, we are likely to observe a continued downward pressure on soybean prices, unless we see a large number of prevented-planting acres because of the wet spring. In recent years, we have seen the soybean-to-corn ratio in the 2.7:1 range, calling for increased soybean acreage. Today, that ratio is closer to 2.25:1, giving a preference for increased corn acres, not that corn is a profitable alternative. With restricted access to Chinese markets, the tariffs the Chinese place on U.S. soybeans comes directly out of the pockets of U.S. farmers unless the exports can be replaced elsewhere. The lament that we have heard all our lives is true: “farmers are price-takers not price-makers.” While lower prices because ofthe tariffs directly hits the pockets of U.S. farmers, soybean producers elsewhere cash in on increased access to the Chinese market. But that is not the end of the bad news. As Chinese trade negotiators returned home, the U.S. administration announced that it would impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods coming into the U.S. For the affected Chinese goods, these tariffs must be absorbed by the importing companies or be passed on to consumers in form of higher prices. Such tariff-based price increases are similar to the imposition of a federal sales tax on the affected products. Certainly, the tariffs that the U.S. has imposed on Chinese goods have increased or will increase the price of goods with Chinese components used by farmers and all other consumers in the U.S. U.S. soybean farmers get hit coming and going. They pay higher prices for purchased goods affected by tariffs imposed on China by the U.S. and receive lower prices for soybeans because of retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. soybeans by China: higher prices for what they buy, lower prices for what they sell. This sounds a lot like a variation of old coin-toss game of heads, I win; tails, you lose with the Chinese calling the coin toss. The current tariff fight has us shaking our heads. We have no idea of where the U.S. is going in this tariff war and we have even fewer ideas of how to get out of the mess. But there are things that we do know, especially about the exports of grains and oilseeds. Farmers need to put the export issue into context and remember that while exports are important, they don’t guarantee profitable prices for major-crop farmers. In fact, during the last 150 years, there have been only three times, totaling maybe 15 or so years, that exports have resulted in profitable prices for major crops in general: WWI, WWII, and the mid-1970s. Sadly, each of these periods ended with depressed prices. A look at the data would suggest that there are occasional years here and there where exports might have been the trigger for higher prices, but that is not much to hang your hat on. O P P C C exports R R O are I Export-growth of major crops does not consistently deliver profitability; important, but they do not guarantee profitability. Like war-driven exports, the further processing of crops, the development of co-products, and the production of biofuels can bring about a relatively short spurt in higher prices, but ultimately farmers overproduce themselves into lower prices—unfortunately, for crop agriculture, high prices cure high prices. Overproduction is a long-term characteristic of crop agriculture and when we forget that, Utilizing NFO Marketing Servic trouble ensues. Utilizing NFO Marketing Services With National protect your crops will he What we need is a policy mechanism that delivers a fair price. And ifprotect we have that we can and crop insurance, mar your crops you’ll will help take the jolt of a tariff war without driving a large number of farmers to the edge of bankCROP IN CROP INSUR ruptcy. The current farm policy ain’t it (so to speak). APH RA HRO / CRC

New Grain Service Area

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 This plan is also widely This plan is also widely known as “Multi-Peril” known as “Multi-Peril” crop insurance and sets 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 shortfall the production shortfall at a specified indemnity at a specified indemnity price. price.


Our Focus Now Moves to Legislation

Dairy Structure Management Overhaul Moves Into New Phase

By Brad Rach We’re turning a big corner in our dairy policy work. As you may recall, we developed two policy proposals and introduced both in a series of Dairy Roadshow meetings around the country this past winter. We participated in The Dairy Roadshow meetings in partnership with Wisconsin Farmers Union, other state NFU chapters and Holstein Association USA. During those meetings, we presented two programs, an emergency relief act and a longer-term structure management program. We had many good discussions which led us to a final program we will now begin promoting as potential legislation. We have combined elements of the two proposals we introduced at the Roadshow into a single proposal called The Dairy Farm Structure Management Program. As you may know, family-sized dairy farm numbers are in freefall. We lost one in three during 2012-2017. This trend goes on, and worsens, day by day. Most smaller dairy farms grow most of their own feed, that is, they do not buy it on the open market. For that reason, the current Dairy Margin Coverage program will not help much in times when market prices for feed are low. Our program is an alternative to, and not a substitute for, the current Dairy Margin Coverage program. Dairy farmers are free to choose one or the other, but not both. We have sought the advice of dairy farmers, farm organizations and Federal Milk Market Order administrators in developing The Dairy Farm Structure Management Program. We appeal to you for support. The future of one of our national treasures, the family-sized dairy farm, is at stake. Our program guarantees certain public payments to family-sized farms. It also provides additional payments to smaller farms in times when milk prices are too low to cover farm operating costs. Our program is administered through the existing Federal Milk Marketing Order system—no additional bureaucracy is required. We need special programs, targeted for family-sized dairies only, to maintain the social and economic advantages smaller dairy farms provide. The Maine Dairy Relief Program, in place since 2004, has effectively stabilized farm numbers in Maine. The Dairy Farm Structure Management Program adapts that program to fit national needs. Our National Dairy Committee, made up of national board members, has served in countless work sessions guiding us to where we are now. It is time to set aside efforts to come up with still better plans and start the work of getting what we have into legislation. The sickening rate at which we are losing family-sized dairies leaves us no other choice. We are moving in a new direction. Let’s all work together, as we always have, to save and promote what Dick Bylsma calls a great American treasure—the American family dairy farm.

Prices Received Index Up 1.1 Percent In April 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 0.703 4.93 3.52 4.80 5.40 8.28 3.02 26.30 17.70 125.00 174.00 59.40

100 % Parity Parity Received In cents lb. 2.07 34 0.70 17.20 29 0.82 13.20 27 06.2 15.10 32 0.10 22.30 24 5.40 32.80 25 13.8 8.65 35 9.4 96.20 27 26.30 52.90 35 17.7 352.00 36 125.0 511.00 34 174.0 171.00 35 59.40

Factor MFP2 Payments Into Revenues And Lock In Potential

Call Us For Marketing Approach Now

By Matt Brandyberry Prices have rallied again during planting season. Typically, this is because of widespread drought fears. This year, record amounts of rainfall have caused planting to be the slowest in history. In May, wide and far-reaching areas didn’t go more than two days without a sizeable rain. That is not enough time for farmers to get rolling on the planter without mudding seeds into the ground. Severe weather, muddy or totally flooded-out fields have been unavoidable. A dramatic, emotional rally has been realized and will provide short- to medium-length price support. Corn prices led the way beginning in May. Prevent plant dates in crop insurance policies across states are earlier for corn than soybeans. Corn prices hit three-year highs shortly after contract lows were felt. Soybeans rallied back after nearby futures prices dropped to decade-long lows. Soybean prices are feeling lasting impacts because of the tariffs and will for the near-term. Farmers are grateful for short-term relief offerings like the Market Facilitation Program 2, but members are concerned and preparing for long-term impacts. The first installment of MFP2 is coming soon and is a payment made on a per-acre basis. In 2018, the USDA estimated farmers spent $102 per acre on corn seed, $118 on fertilizer and $35 on chemicals, for a total of about $255. For soybeans, the same costs were estimated at $108 per acre. Soybean seed costs were $57, fertilizer $24 and chemicals $26. This does not include cash rents, property taxes, equipment costs and other expenses. Going forward, farmers will want to factor payments into revenues and lock in per-acre profits when possible. Predicting the high price is difficult. Even when a high is correctly predicted, the number of bushels sold isn’t the entire crop. Weather models change daily. New trade disputes keep appearing, such as the one with Mexico. That’s why farmers benefit from being disciplined at selling a carefully selected number of bushels multiple times into market rallies. Grain Marketing Plus representatives are excited, eager and ready to sell into rallies. Coming into July, farmers will want to consider their farm’s situation. Knowing your amount left in bins from crop year 2018, acres planted, forward contracted, crop conditions and storage space compared with expected production at harvest will help very much when determining what to do next. Keep the grain staff’s phones ringing. Call to discuss a next sale. Let’s also look ahead to crop year 2020 and get a plan in place. We hope to continue serving you through these difficult times. Thank you.


July/August 2019

USDA Invites Comments on P&S Rule Affecting Farmers The United States Department of Agriculture announced it will invite the public to comment on new proposed revisions to regulations under the Packers & Stockyards Act in compliance with a 2008 congressional mandate by the George W. Bush administration. USDA’s action complies with its commitment to a federal court in 2018 in response to Organization for Competitive Markets litigation against Secretary Sonny Perdue and USDA for having illegally withdrawn two of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules that were filed by the Obama administration to comply with the congressional mandate. These rules were the market safeguards that OCM, allied farm organizations and individual farmers and ranchers have been advocating for over a decade. OCM says abusive market practices not only bankrupt family farmers but destroy rural communities, local businesses and banks while denying consumers healthy and safe food

choices at their grocery stores. “National Farmers urges members to let their voices be heard on the issues surrounding the safeguarding of protections that benefit family farmers and ranchers against big agriculture,� said National Farmers Legislative Coordinator Gene Paul. Perdue has eliminated the stand-alone Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration agency, which was charged with enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act. USDA offcials want to know what you think of the proposed revisions to regulations that would specify criteria the Secretary could consider in determining whether conduct or action by packers, swine contractors, or live poultry dealers constitutes an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage and a violation of the P and S Act.

Profile for National Farmers

National Farmers July/August 2019 Magazine  

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

National Farmers July/August 2019 Magazine  

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

Advertisement