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Helping pay for college

Orion Samuelson shares his thoughts on the cost of education.

Samuelson Sez is a special feature of This Week in Agribusiness where Orion Samuelson shares his thoughts and insights into key issues of the day.

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA

Max Armstrong profiles Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA, Howard Lake, Minn, a 122-member recently presented the Land of Service Award. Chapter member Brook Lorenson talks about the many projects the group is involved in, including blood drives, highway clean-ups and hunger efforts.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Orion Samuelson at [email protected] or to Max Armstrong at [email protected]. They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

This Week in Agribusiness, May 6, 2017

Part 1

Max Armstrong opens this week's show a look at what Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture, is hoping to accomplish in office. Randy Myers, Bayer Product Development Manager, tackles the Farm Challenge of the Week. And Farm broadcaster Lynn Ketelsen, Linder Farm Network, from Owatonna, MN, offers insight into key issues farmers in that part of the country are watching.

Part 2

Max Armstrong talks markets with Jerry Gidel, The Price Futures Group. In Samuelson Sez, Orion Samuelson shares his thoughts on the cost of education. And Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States.

Part 3

Max Armstrong talks to two people who received awards from the National Agri Marketing Association. Mike Stern, CEO, The Climate Corporation, explains to Max Armstrong the value of the data driven product that the company produces. Max also talks to Greg Nickerson, Bader Rutter, winner of NAMA’s Marketer of the Year honor. Bob Young, Chief Economist, AFBF, talks about what needs to be in the next farm bill.

Part 4

Max Armstrong talks with Ray Starling, Special Assistant to the President for agriculture, trade and food assistance, about how he thinks President Trump will deal with agriculture. Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Eastern United States. And in Max's Tractor Shed, Max takes a look at an International 915 combine, which will be on view at the Half Century of Progress, Rantoul Illinois.  

Part 5

Max Armstrong continues his market conversation with Jerry Gidel, The Price Futures Group.

Part 6

Max Armstrong profiles Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA, Howard Lake, Minn., a 122-member recently presented the Land of Service Award. And Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at the weather for the week ahead, including his four-week forecast.

Part 7

Max Armstrong closes this week show with a look at the finalists of the Americia's Farmers Farm Mom of the Year Competition. Susan Brocksmith, Vincennes, Ind., talks about how important it is to be an advocate for ag. Cala Tabb, Eupora, Miss., shares the idea that everyone should be proud of local farmers. Becca Ferry, Brigham City, Utah, discusses the need in sharing ag’s story. Nancy Kirkholm, Homer, Neb., talks about how women have taken a bigger role in farm operations. Shari Sell-Bakker, Dike, Iowa, shares how social media has affected agriculture.


International 915 combine

Max Armstrong takes a look at an International 915 combine, which will be on view at the Half Century of Progress, Rantoul, Illinois.  

Max's Tractor Shed is a regular feature of This Week in Agribusiness. Max Armstrong shares information about legacy machines, their stories and how they may still be at work today. If you have a tractor you want featured in Max's Tractor Shed, send a high-resolution digital picture, your contact information, and information about the tractor - what makes it special - to [email protected].

A recap of the April blizzard & its impact on cattle & crops

At the end of April, feedlots in Kansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and Nebraska were hit by a massive snow storm that blanketed the area with more than a foot of snow.

According to Lee Reeve, principal at Reeve Cattle Co. in Garden City, Kan., and president-elect of the Kansas Livestock Association, in a recent interview with AgWeb, “Losses were the highest among younger animals and a feedlot with 80,000 head of cattle north of Garden City lost more than 1,000 animals. The storm came on so fast, and it was the heaviest snow I’ve ever seen.”

As a result of the blizzard, pasture cattle have wandered off as winds gusted up to 60 miles per hour.

Bloomberg reports, “Road closures and power outages hampered efforts to keep cattle fed and confined, and some owners are still working to locate stray animals.”

Additionally, damage to wheat fields may have resulted in a loss of more than 50 million bushels.

READ: Cattle futures beef prices soar after blizzard clobbers Midwest

Of the destroyed wheat crop, reports, “Cold temperatures, at or below freezing in many counties, raised concerns of possible damage to the wheat crop, which was 90% jointed and 44% headed.”

What’s worse, Justin Gilpin, Kansas Wheat Commission CEO, told World-Grain that, “The focus on the storm has overshadowed the fact that wheat farmers in the state have had to endure prices falling below $3 a bushel in the country, so low that they can’t recoup their costs of production.”

READ: April blizzard: Disaster for Kansas wheat

As of May 2, Charlotte Babcock Stephenson, a rancher from Norton, Kan., told me on Facebook that she was still without power and she had heard reports around Scott City and Oakley that power outages were causing shortages of water.

She told the Fence Post in a recent interview that she hoped to have electricity by the weekend, but at the time, her provider still had 2,600 meters out of commission.

Read: Farmers and ranchers struggling after deadly blizzard kills cattle, destroys crops

Meanwhile, the cold front also brought a clash of warm temperatures, resulting in deadly tornadoes that ripped through Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri.

Aljazeera reports, “These deadly tornadoes were accompanied by enough rain to cause flash floods and for rivers to burst their banks. While the tornadoes and flooding may be expected in spring, the amount of snowfall was unusual. Snow in the cold air reached Amarillo before dawn on Saturday following a drop in temperature of 19C in 15 hours. Approximately 8cm of snow then fell.”

READ: Spring blizzard hits Kansas and Oklahoma

If you were impacted by the blizzard, flooding or tornadoes, let us know how your ranch is doing following the storms in the comments section below. We would love to hear how you’re moving forward.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.

Perdue defends RFS, animal ag

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made Iowa his first official visit on Friday, hosting a roundtable discussion on pressing issues concerning agriculture, renewable fuels and rural America at the farm of cattle and grain farmer Bill Couser near Nevada, Iowa.

Rather than speak from the 17-page speech written by his staff, Perdue quickly left the podium and instead spoke from his heart about his love for agriculture and desire to improve the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He also referenced the importance of trade and finding a solution for today’s farm labor.

Perdue said last week’s announcement to form an interagency task force to evaluate regulations that affect agriculture will allow continued regulatory rollback that can benefit farmers. “This President is committed to having a Team USA – a holistic government that works for U.S. people and not against it,” he said.

“We’re going to make sound science, fact-based, data-driven decisions,” he said, pointing to Couser’s cattle farm, which uses different technological advancements ranging from the degree of slopes on the barns to different uses of the corn kernel for ethanol and cattle feed.

When questioned about support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), Perdue responded with what President Donald Trump said during the campaign season. “Renewable energy and ethanol is here to stay,” Perdue said.

When someone gave him a button that said, “Don’t mess with the RFS,” he responded: “I got that message. We’re not going to mess with it.”

Perdue was questioned about support for working lands conservation programs and technical assistance, and he acknowledged that while “USDA does a lot of things very well, technology is not one of them. If we were Amazon, we’d be out of business.” He said there’s a commitment to have an integrated database system.

Perdue also thanked the Iowa crowd for their hospitality to five young Chinese men who came to Iowa in 1984. He said they were treated like friends and made a lasting impression on the man who is now the president of the second-largest economy in the world: President Jinping Xi.

“Gov. Branstad and I are going to go to China and sell all the beef we can,” Perdue said. He explained that the technical decisions are tough, but he wants the Chinese people to trust that the U.S. has a wholesome, healthy product.

He again reiterated that he wants to be the “chief salesman” for U.S. agricultural products around the world. “If you grow it, we’re going to sell it,” he said.

Perdue said the new motto at USDA is, “Do right, and feed everyone.”

He praised Couser’s work on the farm and said, “We ought to be unapologetic about how we do things in animal agriculture.” Perdue added that he’d love for activists to see how well the cattle are cared for on Couser’s farm and the high level of treatment they receive.

To watch the full event, visit the Iowa Farm Bureau's Facebook page, or click here.


From House of Representatives vote to throw out Obamacare. Check out where your representative landed.

100 things to do in Wisconsin this summer is at Max's Twitter account.

Trade agreements are very complex. In all the debate about North American Free Trade Agreement, there's been tendency to over simplify what these agreements do. Ray Starling addressed Washington meeting of farm broadcasters. Starling said under NAFTA it takes way too long to resolve a disagreement.

A Kentucky state lawmaker has been changed with violating state's liquor law. 


20 Republicans bucked their party and voted against their health care overhaul. Three came from Heartland of America. 

Speaking of Kentucky, people are being told to wear rain ponchos and waterproof mascara.

Extensive replanting will be necessary in Missouri. 100,000 acres of rice in Arkansas wiped out by flooding.

Four-foot-long musky was netted on a successful fishing trip.

Earlier this week in Manitoba, a North Dakota motorist was pulled over for speeding. He was going 100 miles per hour. He thought speed limit was 100 miles per hour, but Canada uses the metric system. He was going 68 over the speed limit and received a $940 ticket.

Farm Progress America, May 5, 2017

Max Armstrong shares a profile of Becca Ferry, Brigham City, Utah, who has been working to engage the public to learn about agriculture, including an interesting activity at the Utah State Fair. She's active in the state Farm Bureau and other public activities.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Weekly Cattle Market Wrap Up | Price rally moves feeders off pasture

There are normally big runs of feeders later in May because of graze out wheat pastures, but this year the big price rally has been moving feeders off of wheat pastures earlier than normal. Prices were easily $1-8 higher with the biggest increases on hedgable yearlings because the deferred live cattle futures jumped quite a bit which allowed increased bidding on heavier weight yearlings.
As far as slaughter cows, there was a 2600 head drop in receipts at the 20 test auctions and slaughter cow prices were $1-3 higher on the heels of improving cow meat prices that were starting to follow the Choice box beef cutout rally. Another supporting factor was a big drop in fresh beef imports compared to last year.