I give up; you try to explain this market

Marketing fed cattle

I recently read the best market analysis I have seen in a while. It described that the futures market was up limit or nearly up limit on Monday, followed by crashing on Tuesday and giving up all the gains made on Monday. Then, with no change in open interest Wednesday, the following explanation was given: “There doesn't seem to be an easy explanation, as is so often the case in recent years.” 

That about sums it up. In today’s market, a tremendous amount of brain cells have been burned up trying to explain that which has no explanation. I don’t know if it is algorithms or millions of decisions that happen so quickly that context and reason are no longer able to be factored in. Or if it is simply a chaotic symphony between the opposing forces of irrational exuberance and unrestrained fear.

It is not that I don’t care or that I am not intrigued by the prospect of solving the riddle. It’s like my dog. I have no idea why she loves us, why she is so loyal or why she wants to work. I’ve learned to just appreciate those facts without knowing why. 

The market may not be loyal, it may not have our best interests at heart, it may not even be transparent or accurate, but it is constrained by reality at some point. And while I may not always appreciate its volatility, I am learning to accept it for what it is. Like the mysteries of faith, or marriage to a wonderful woman, it doesn’t fit into a nice, clean box. And I’m OK with that. What choice do I have anyway? 


There sure was good reason numerous severe storm warnings were posted throughout Iowa last night. Near Cedar Rapids the town of Prairieburg sustained damages. Population less than 200 people.

There's been another high profile United Airlines incident. Mother feared baby would die in her arms because the airplane was so hot while waiting on tamarack. Baby had to be rushed by ambulance to emergency room. 

Monsanto's earnings looked pretty good when released yesterday.

Acreage figures posted tomorrow. Grain stocks figures come out tomorrow. Pork industry report out today.

A facebook comment promoted Ohio council meeting to adjourn. Happened in town of Loveland, Ohio.

Farm Progress America, June 29, 2017

Max Armstrong shares information about how a labor shortage has caused farmers to leave crops in the field to rot in Santa Barbara County, which cost famers $13 million last year. From strawberries to field greens, farmers ended up plowing the crop back into the field.

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.

Photo: Sandy Huffaker/stringer/Getty Images

Breaking News: BPI settles lawsuit with ABC

BPI Lean finely textured beef

Pink slime is officially dead.

A few weeks ago, Beef Product Inc.’s (BPI) monumental $1.9 billion defamation suit against ABC for its reports on lean finely textured beef (LFTB) was finally heard in front of a jury panel in Union County, South Dakota, and on the morning of June 27, reports were released that BPI had settled with the news station and reporter Jim Avila.

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, it appears the final decision was vindication to BPI, which lost more than three-fourths of its company following ABC’s reporting, where they repeatedly referred to their signature product as “pink slime.”

As an industry, we can rejoice that the truth and integrity in reporting needs to prevail, and destroying businesses to drum up website traffic will not be tolerated.

Here is a roundup of what all sides of the case are saying about the settlement:

From BPI:

"We are extraordinarily pleased to have reached a settlement of our lawsuit against ABC and Jim Avila,” said Dean Webb, BPI’s attorney. “While this has not been an easy road to travel, it was necessary to begin rectifying the harm we suffered as a result of what we believed to be biased and baseless reporting in 2012. Through this process, we have again established what we all know to be true about LFTB: it is beef, and is safe, wholesome, and nutritious. This agreement provides us with a strong foundation on which to grow the business, while allowing us to remain focused on achieving the vision of the Roth and BPI family.”

From reporter Jim Avila:

"I wish they had had the chance to hear my side of the story,” said Avila, who first thanked the jury members for their service and said he realized this was a business decision on the part of the network. “It’s important to note we're not retracting anything. We're not apologizing for anything.”

From ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend:

"Throughout this case, we have maintained that our reports accurately presented the facts and views of knowledgeable people about this product," Townsend said. "Although we have concluded that continued litigation of this case in not in the company's interests, we remain committed to the vigorous pursuit of truth and the consumer's right to know about the products they purchase.”

According to the Sioux City Journal, the settlement was a surprise to the courtroom and the jury members.

Circuit Court Judge Cheryle Gering started the 18th day of the trial with the statement, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have many things to tell you this morning. First of all, the case is settled. Neither the court, nor the jury, nor the public will be told the terms of the settlement today. The case is over.”

Read additional details of the case from the Business Insider by clicking here.

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

More on “Will UTVs replace horses?”

Horses are essential on the ranch

I received a great email a few days ago, responding to last week’s blog asking if UTVs will replace horses on the ranch. Kent Hanawalt, a rancher from McLeod, Mont., has pondered this question quite a bit, it seems, so much so that he included some thoughts on the subject in a book he’s written titled Ain't This Romantic!?!   

According to Hanawalt, “Yes, I have a four wheeler and a side-by-side with a dump box—and we use them every day. But most of our country is too rough for wheels. We also use our horses in the corral (to work cattle)—I paid too much for these boots to get them shitty! We use horses because they are good, and they are good because we use them.”

But that may not always be the case. In “Beginning of the End,” Hanawalt offers some observations. Enjoy.


Jim was a neighbor of mine on the Shields River who loved his horses. He had a handful of the stoutest, prettiest bunch of buckskins I’d ever seen. But early into the New Millennium he was cussing when he called me to shoe one of them.

“I’ve got to get in a cow from up in my summer range and I can’t get there on my four-wheeler.”


“I haven’t saddled a horse in two years”, said Pol, a rancher I knew in the Bear Paw Mountains.

“First you buy a four-wheeler to do the irrigating, then you figure out how good it will work to run in the horses.

 “And one day you realize that you could be there and back on the four-wheeler in less time than it would take to get your horse in and saddle it. That’s the beginning of the end.

“Then when you really need a horse, he’s so fat and out of tune that you can’t get the job done anyway. Then it’s all over”.


For most folks, ranching isn’t about cows - it’s about a lifestyle. And for me, that lifestyle is about horses

There is no money in raising cows – the profit comes only when you sell the ranch. But who wants to sell the ranch!?! The joy in ranching comes from riding a good horse – one who understands what you want to accomplish, and who puts his heart into accomplishing it with you.

Horses can only maintain their cow-working skills when they are used, and here on the Ellison Ranch we still use horses regularly: to cut out heavies, to check the cows, to cut out pairs, to doctor, to bring cattle into the shed or corral, to sort cattle, to brand, to move to new pastures, to fix fence, to check cattle on summer range. There are plenty of jobs that can still be done faster, cheaper, easier, and better on a horse.

But horseback ranches are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. My local barber estimates that fewer than 10% of the ranches in the Livingston area use horses more than a couple of times a year. 

At least I am still doing my part to keep horses as a vital part of the ranch.


Thanks, Kent. Keep those saddle blankets wet.


ABC News, BPI reach settlement

Buyer woman chooses chopped meat in a shop

The Associated Press reports that ABC News has reached a settlement with Beef Products Inc. regarding ABC's 2012 coverage of the company's lean, finely textured beef product, dubbed "pink slime" by critics.

ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend said in a statement that the network has "reached an amicable resolution of the dispute with the makers" of the beef product. Terms of the deal are confidential.

Beef Products Inc., which is based in Dakota Dunes, S.D., filed a suit against ABC alleging the network misled consumers into believing lean, finely textured beef was unsafe. The story led to the closure of three plants and 700 layoffs.

In a statement, BPI said the agreement provides them a strong foundation on which to grow their business.

"We are extraordinarily pleased to have reached a settlement of our lawsuit against ABC and Jim Avila," BPI said. "While this has not been an easy road to travel, it was necessary to begin rectifying the harm we suffered as a result of what we believed to be biased and baseless reporting in 2012. Through this process, we have again established what we all know to be true about Lean Finely Textured Beef: it is beef, and is safe, wholesome, and nutritious." 

Source: BPI

What others are saying:

The trial began June 5 and had the potential to have large ramifications for ABC and the media. – Hollywood Reporter

Beef Products Inc. sued ABC in 2012. – Los Angeles Times


Agriculture isn't the only industry with a labor shortage. About two thirds of contractors have a labor shortage. More than one third of contractors forced to turn work down. 58% putting in higher bids. Many are asking their employees to work harder.

Spring wheat is attracting plenty of interest. Few signs of upward movement stopping as it pushes close to $7 a bushel on Minneapolis exchange. Moisture concerns not expected to fade.

There was a time when pork producers struggled with what to do with pork bellies. That was before bacon was added to fast food restaurant breakfast menu. 

Is your messaging costing you customers?

If anyone believes their verbal and nonverbal business messaging is effective, they may be fooling themselves.

Here's the problem: If what customers see or hear isn't clear they ignore it.

Here's a short checklist on how to improve your messaging:

1.             Is your message clear to the reader? It may be clear to you, but that's not enough. Have others read it and given you their feedback. "What really matters is making your meaning clear beyond a doubt," writes famed London Times editor Harold Evans.

2.             Will your message grab the recipients' attention? If it doesn't, you're done, so figure out a more effective way to express it.

3.             Is your message believable? Remember, anything you say about yourself is self-serving; no one believes it. For example: "Our service is superior," "Our customer portal is second-to-none," "We have some of the best reps in the business." Let your customers tell their experience with your company. Make it even more convincing with actual quotes, photos, and their names and where they live. For online messaging, short videos (90 sec.) can be compelling.

4.             Will your message move customers to action? It's story time; let an expert say it for you, someone with direct knowledge or experience. This can be particularly effective when comparing the benefits of a new product or service with an existing one.

5.             Go back to #1. Check it a few more times.

Good messaging takes time and thought. That's because success is the only test that counts.



Nike may be close to direct relationship with Amazon

Amazon.com Inc. will begin selling Nike shoes directly through a brand-registry program designed to keep counterfeit goods off the site, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The approach lets Nike Inc. take greater control over how its products are sold, helping ensure that knockoff shoes aren’t offered by third parties on the e-commerce marketplace, said the person, who asked not to be named because the arrangement isn’t yet public.

Shoes are popular products for counterfeiters, and Nike’s global brand is an especially alluring target. That’s put pressure on the athletic-apparel giant to police online sales more aggressively.

Read more



There's been a recall of some fireworks. Sold through major chain stories in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois. Sold under TNT brand.

Farm organizations have made it clear how important NAFTA is. Farm groups say it has worked very well. Chip Councell said he's heard firsthand how important NAFTA is.

Corn is tall enough now in some places for me to share this warning. Even summer out there at rural intersection obscured by tall corn, there are accidents. Be careful.

Charlie Daniels very active on twitter. He recently tweeted If Congress were farmers, crops would fail, livestock would die and weeds would be over the top of the barn.