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Bob comes from a family farm background that consisted of row-crop production, and a small cow herd. After studying broadcasting in college, he started work in Extension Information and moved to commercial Farm Broadcasting. Bob also served as Head of Editorial at Data Transmission Network (DTN) where he helped develop an information service aimed at the California Dairy Industry. Today, Bob covers National Farm News, Farm Policy, and attends National Commodity Organization meetings and trade shows. Bob and his wife Ann also own a small farm. Email Bob Quinn
Mark grew up with farming in his blood. His father and uncle farmed together during Mark's childhood and both of his grandfathers farmed. Mark studied radio broadcasting at Brown College in Mendota Heights, MN with his first job being an overnight shift on a country station. Mark has worn many hats in his broadcast career including Farm Director and Program Director. He's done sports play by play, assisted for several years in the news department, hosted a morning show and in 2006 became a full time farm broadcaster. In November 2012 Mark was recognized for his farm market reporting at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City by placing Second nationally in the NAFB Marketcast category. Mark and his wife Melissa have a little boy, Gavin, who can't seem to get enough of his toy tractors and Little People Farm Set. Email Mark Dorenkamp
(Reuters) - Philippine farmers need urgent assistance to avoid a "double tragedy" befalling rural survivors of the typhoon that hit the country earlier this month, the United Nations' food agency said on Wednesday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said more than $11 million is needed to help clean and clear agricultural land and de-silt irrigation canals in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 3,900 people when it struck on November 8.
That is in addition to the $20 million already requested by FAO to help farmers fertilize, irrigate and maintain their crops to ensure the next harvests in 2014, the Rome-based agency said in a statement.
"It would be a double tragedy if next spring farming families still needed to rely on continued humanitarian food assistance because we haven't been able to support them as they recover from this disaster," said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.
Interest rates are just about as low as they can go. And, even though they aren't exactly expected to skyrocket in the near future, even a pause in the decline in rates that's been underway now for years could have serious implications for farmers' borrowing capacity.
Market-watchers do expect the slide in interest rates to end in the near future, but that doesn't mean they're going to turn higher immediately. In fact, federal officials will likely take action to keep them at currently low levels in an effort to spur badly needed macroeconomic growth, according to University of Illinois Extension ag economist Gary Schnitkey.
"The decreasing rate period coming to an end does not signal a period of rising interest rates. If certain Federal Reserve Board policy makers have their way, a protracted period of low interest rates could ensue. In her confirmation hearings for Federal Reserve Board chair, Janet Yellen indicated that she prefers to continue the period of accommodative monetary policy," Schnitkey says. "If successful, this policy would lead to a protracted period of low rates, with rate variability similar to that experienced in the last six months. This protracted low rate period likely will occur, unless the economy unexpectedly grows leading to higher real interest rates or inflationary pressures grow leading to higher nominal rates."
But, assuming rates will stay low rather than increase after the general trend of decline ends doesn't mean money and financing is going to stay cheap and risk-free. In fact, the opposite could be true; in some ways, a pause in rate movement one way or another can have just as much a hampering effect on financing opportunities than an altogether reversal higher.
Why? Say you buy 80 acres of land for $10,000/acre and finance it with a 2% interest rate. If it stays at 2%, your real ability to continue to pay for that land won't go down, but it also won't improve as would be the case if the rate continued to decline.
Now, say that interest rate moves to 4% in the next 2 years. All of a sudden, you're paying $16,000 more for that 80 acres. And, with corn prices near their breakeven levels right now, an extra $16,000 may not be the easiest thing to come by in the near future.
"Since the mid-1980s, marginal investment decisions have been aided by decreasing interest rates. For example, there may have been little margin in cash flows from a debt financed investment at the time the investment was original undertaken. Decreasing rates often led to lower interest payments after the investment, thereby causing cash flows to become more favorable," Schnitkey says. "From 1985 through 2013, 10-year rates decreased an average .26 percentage points each year, leading to a reduction of 1 percentage point every four years. It is unreasonable to expect similar reductions in the future."
So, what can you do? It's all in the margins moving forward, namely expanding them to account for any potential move higher in interest rates that could ultimately undercut your ability to pay down a loan that, under its original super-low interest rate terms -- and stronger grain markets -- was easy to handle.
"Given the end of decreasing rate period, farmers may wish to build more safety margin in their investment decisions. It will be unlikely that decreases in rates will reduce debt servicing requirements in the future. Moreover, there is a risk of increasing rates, leading to larger fund requirements to service debt," Schnitkey says. "Some may have gotten conditioned by falling interest rates during the past three decades of decreases. Almost by necessity, the era of decreasing interest rates is ending. Therefore, debt servicing requirement made on investments today likely will not be decreased by falling rates. This suggests additional reflection when undertaking debt-financed investments."
On Feed Nov 1 - 94% (94% expected)
Placed in Oct - 110% (110% expected)
Marketed in Oct - 101% (101% expected)
The 2014 planting season offers growers a bit of choice – 26 varieties new to the marketplace.
The following alfalfas are eligible for certification by seed-certifying agencies, as they have been granted National Alfalfa & Miscellaneous Legumes Variety Review Board approval. Their pest-resistance information and the companies distributing them are listed in the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance leaflet. They are:
Fall Dormancy 2: PGI 212, Ladak II
Fall Dormancy 4: 6472A,AmeriStand 427TQ, Camas, FSG 403LR, FSG 423ST, FSG 424, HybriForce-3400, SolarGold
Fall Dormancy 5: 6585Q, Nimbus, PGI 529
Fall Dormancy 6: Cisco II
Fall Dormancy 7: 57Q53
Genuity Roundup Ready
Fall Dormancy 4: DKA44-16RR
Fall Dormancy 5: RR501
Fall Dormancy 8: WL 552HQ.RR