January 19, 2018

Census of Agriculture Vital to Future of Industry – AUDIO

The 2017 Census of Agriculture has been sent to farmers all across the country. Greg Thessen of the National Ag Statistics Service office in Des Moines, Iowa, says the Census is very important to each and every producer…

Thessen 2018 Ag Census

The time it will take to fill out the census will depend a lot on whether or not producers have both livestock and crops. It also depends on the number of different commodities each farmer produces. Thessen says the easiest way to fill out the Census of Agriculture is to go online.

It’s also important for farmers to fill out the census because agencies that provide help to producers will use that data to make decisions…

Census Influence on Decisions

Beginning farmer programs also use the information to establish targets for lending to beginning farmers. Each state also gets a certain level of funding for FSA or NRCS programs, which has to be allocated down to the county level. They use census data to make those decisions.

There shouldn’t be too many surprising questions for farmers while they fill out the census…

No Surprises

Once the information is filled out, it won’t be traced back to an individual farm. It’s also not available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. Producer information is kept confidential and only used in aggregate form. The last round of mailings went out to farmers on December 19th and the deadline is set for February 5th.

Pork Exports Support U.S. Hog Herd Expansion

The U.S. swine inventory on December 1, 2017 was 73.2 million head. This was up two percent from a year ago. The breeding herd inventory at 6.1 million head, was up one percent. The supply of market hogs, at just over 67 million head, was up two percent. With the exception of the breeding herd, these numbers are at record highs for this quarter. Purdue University economist Dr. Chris Hurt does not expect the report to have a major impact on profitability…

Hurt – Hog Prices

There has been consistent growth in hog supplies. How sustainable is that growth? Hurt offers his view…

Hurt – Outlook

The U.S. swine industry has added packing capacity in recent years. Jim Robb, who is with the Livestock Marketing Information Center, says that situation supports additional growth…

Robb – Livestock Marketing

Exports have remained strong this past year. Independent market analyst Bob Brown, who is based in Edmond, Oklahoma, says exports will continue to influence the hog trade…

Brown – Exports

The December Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report can be found here. 

Look Ahead For Marketing Opportunties Says NCTC Instructor Jensen

Small grain growers from across North Dakota and Minnesota converged on Grand Forks, ND on Wednesday and Thursday to attend the annual Prairie Grains Conference.  The two day event, which was held at the Alerus Center, hosted a number of meetings and panels that covered everything from weed control issues to succession planning.  It was there we ran in Betsy Jensen, a farm management instructor with Minnesota Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks.  Jensen says she saw producers in her area emerge from 2017 with a wide variety of circumstances:

Jensen 1

Jensen, along with fellow instructor Josh Tjosaas, led a Thursday breakout session entitled “Crop Budgets and Breakeven Costs – The Foundation for a 2018 Marketing Plan”  She had this advice for growers heading into 2018:

Jensen 2

And for soybeans:

Jensen 3

Aside from the various producer education meetings, the Prairie Grains Conference also hosted a trade show.  The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Barley Growers Association and the North Dakota Grain Growers also held their annual meetings.  Major sponsors of the event were AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Bayer Crop Science, and CHS Ag Services, along with several others.