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April' 2013

2013 Earth Day

For over four decades, an annual event called “EARTH DAY” has been held in late April across the United States, which has been a time for all U.S. citizens to reflect on our Country’s environmental resources, and what we can do individually and as communities to help enhance our environment for the next generation. In recent years, it has become fashionable to point the “finger of blame” at agriculture and farmers for many environmental issues. However, in reality farmers have been some of the best “environmental stewards” in the U.S. in the past couple of decades. [ read more ... ]


2013 Custom Farming Agreements

An alternative to leasing farmland is a “Custom Farming Agreement”. In a typical Custom Farming Agreement, the custom operator agrees to perform all the machine operations on the owner’s land in exchange for a set fee or rate. The landowner pays for all seed, fertilizer, chemicals, crop insurance, and other input costs; receives the all grain produced and all eligible farm program payments on the land; and is responsible to store and market the grain. [ read more ... ]


What A Difference A Year Makes

In 2012, most farmers in Southern Minnesota and Iowa began full-scale field work during the week of April 10-17, with most of the corn being planted by the end of April. By comparison in 2013, we are not likely to see much full-scale field work across the region until after April 15, and we are probably a couple a weeks away, at a minimum, from seeing a significant amount of corn being planted. Soil temperatures are still well below minimal acceptable levels for planting corn, and there is still a considerable amount of frost in the ground in many areas. Some portions of Southeast and Central Minnesota still have sinficant snow cover to melt. [ read more ... ]


March 28th USDA Reports

On March 28, 2012, USDA released its “Prospective Plantings Report” and its “Quarterly Grain Stocks Report”.  These were very highly anticipated USDA Reports, due to the uncertainty in grain prices in recent months, as well as with the tight USDA estimated grain stocks that existed in recent months. Typically, these late March USDA Reports are very critical to farm operators and grain traders because these reports tend to have a high impact on grain market prices in the Spring and early Summer. This is the time of the year when many farm operators try to sell remaining grain inventories from the previous growing season, as well as look for opportunities to forward price a portion of the anticipated crop for the current year. In a majority of years, corn and soybean prices usually reach their peak price in the Spring months, from April until June. [ read more ... ]


2013 Farm Custom Rates

As would be expected with increasing fuel costs, average 2013 custom rates for farm work have a1so risen, compared to 2012 custom rates. Most custom rates for farm work in 2013 are listed at 3-5 percent above the rates for similar operations in 2012, with an average increase of about 4 percent. In addition to higher fuel costs, increasing cost for new and used machinery, and rising repair costs, are also factors in the higher custom rates. [ read more ... ]


2013 National Ag Week

“National Ag Week” is being celebrated March 17-23 all across the United States, as well as in Minnesota, with Tuesday, March 19, being designated as “National Ag Day”.  As we celebrate “National Ag Week”, it is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. agriculture industry second to none ! [ read more ... ]


2013 CRP Program Update

In 2013, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is celebrating its 27th anniversary, and over two and a half decades of conservation success. CRP was originally established in the 1985 Farm Bill, and today has over 390,000 landowners participating, most of which are farmers and ranchers, and currently has just over 27.0 million acres under some-type of CRP contracts. Another General CRP will be held in 2013, with the sign-up period from May 20 through June 14, 2013, at local FSA Offices. [ read more ... ]