Ag Policy

  • Rural Broadband – Catching up to Urban Broadband?

    Sort of like the photo of my motorcycle at the left, broadband Internet services are much faster than dial up (or in my case a Harley).  Historically, the utilization of broadband Internet services in the rural sector has been much lower than urban areas. In an article in the September, 2009 Amber Waves , several […]

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  • Farm Debt Levels Are Increasing

    All in all, farm debt levels have increased, however, farmers have done a very good job of not letting these levels get out of control. The United States Department of Agriculture has a very good print and online magazine called Amber Waves.  Each issue generally has several good articles related to farming and I would […]

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  • Top-Third vs. Bottom-Third

    The Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics periodically produces a recap of the high 1/3, mid 1/3 and low 1/3 of various farms in their state.  They just released the latest analysis for corn, sorghum, wheat, soybeans and alfalfa for the three years 2006-2008.  The total number of crop farms reporting for all three […]

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  • Does Your Banker Understand Hedging

    For a farmer to be successful in using a hedging strategy, they must have an agricultural lender that understands and promotes hedging.  Many lenders are willing to finance margin accounts for bonafide hedgers since they understand that the farmer is reducing their exposure to pricing risk.  Some will also lend a larger percentage of the […]

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  • Good Farmland in Iowa Down 7% Year-over-Year

    The most recent AgLetter from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago indicated that good farm land in Iowa decreased about 7 percent from the third quarter of 2008.  The average decrease for the five state region was 4%.  The good news that the price of good farm land increased by 2% over the second quarter […]

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  • Monsanto = Monopoly?????

     I have read several articles about the Department of Justice possibly looking into anti-trust concerns regarding the concentration of seed genetic traits by Monsanto.  Many experts believe that Monsanto uses their supplier contracts with other seed companies to unlawfully constrain competition in the seed industry. Over the last 12 years, Monsanto has gone from having almost […]

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  • Corporate Farms in Africa

    In the latest issue of Business Week magazine is a very good article on the farm land rush that is occurring in Africa and other under-developed countries around the world. There are many issues surrounding these investments in third word farming enterprises.  Although it may provide jobs for these people, it also is disturbing the […]

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  • Farmland Values Hold Steady, But Credit Conditions are Deteriorating

    After two years of steep increases, it appears that farmland values are either flattening out or starting to drop, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. For example, Nebraska farmland values fell in the third quarter compared to a the third quarter of 2008 by about 5%.  The regional change was slightly lower […]

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  • Crop Insurance Competition – Is it Real?

    Bruce Babcock, an economist at Iowa State University, recently prepared an extensive report on competition in the crop insurance industry.  With all of this year’s crop delays in getting corn and beans harvested this fall, you may get to know your crop insurance agent better in the next couple of months.  You are probably hoping […]

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  • Warren Buys Burlington Northern

    Growing up on our wheat farm in Walla Walla County in Washington state, we had a small railroad trestle that went over Dry Creek behind our house.  The local train would come by in the morning headed to Dayton to pick up freight and then would head back to Walla Walla in the afternoon.  Most […]

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