Tuesday Talks With Dr. Patterson

August 2014 Archives

AUGUST 26, 2014


“There’s more than corn in Indiana,” is the slogan of the family entertainment park in northwestern Indiana, Indiana Beach. You used to occasionally hear a jaunty jingle for Indiana Beach sung by crow on WGN. These days, there’s a lot of corn and soybeans in Indiana and across the Midwest.

The USDA released this month’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report on August 12. This is the monthly report containing the USDA’s official forecasts and reported historical figures for U.S. and world commodity markets. The report forecasts a record U.S. corn crop for the 2014/15 marketing year of 14 billion bushels, surpassing even last year’s record crop of 13.9 billion. Excellent growing conditions across much of the Corn Belt have resulted in a record average yield of 167.4 bushels per acre. Similarly, U.S. soybeans are projected to reach a record yield of 45.4 bushels per acre during marketing year 2014/15, resulting in record total production of 3.8 billion bushels. As expected, with little change in expected domestic use or exports, this large production will result in increased stock levels, which will depress market prices for both commodities. Currently, the season average farm price for corn is projected in the $3.55 to $4.25 per bushel range; soybeans are now in the $9.35 to $11.35 per bushel range. Since the report’s release, industry observers have indicated that even larger crops may be harvested this fall.

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AUGUST 19, 2014


In May 2014, Vermont passed a law requiring food products containing genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMO) as ingredients to be labeled as such. The Vermont law will become effective in July 2016, making it the first GMO labeling law to be enforced. Connecticut and Maine passed a similar law in 2013, but delayed implementation until certain requirements are met. The Connecticut law will not be enforced until at least four other states (at least one contiguous) with a combined population of 20 million pass similar laws. Voter referendums calling for GMO food labels were defeated in California in 2012 and in Washington in 2013. Efforts are currently underway to bring a referendum to Colorado voters in November. And, as many as 20 other states are expected to consider GMO labeling through legislation or referendums in the coming year.

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AUGUST 12, 2014


On August 6, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning imports of beef, pork, poultry, fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, cheese, milk, and other meat and cheese products from the United States, European Union, Canada, Australia, and Norway. The ban is to be imposed for a period of one year. This action is a retaliatory measure for the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies on Russia for its intervention in the conflict in the Ukraine.

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AUGUST 5, 2014


“Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” This quote often attributed to Mark Twain is applicable to the current debate over a proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to redefine the “waters of the United States.” Many state and national farm organizations have opposed the proposed rule. Indeed, the American Farm Bureau has mounted a campaign calling for the EPA and Corps of Engineers to Ditch the Rule.

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