Fed up

Agriculture.com Staff 08/21/2009 @ 5:45pm

In years when a big crop is in the field, the last two weeks of August are not normally times of excitement in the grain markets. The trend in corn futures is flat or down. The trend in soybean futures is higher over the short term. Notwithstanding the wash out on soybean futures at the end of last week, this week's markets seem to be willing to follow the normal trends. I get calls from farmers wondering what to do. My inclination is to simply reply, "Nothing". Old crop grain should be sold and delivered by now. New crop pricing on whatever proportion you usually sell ahead should be wrapped up.

I enjoy this time because I can concentrate on other things. I have been trying to stay ahead of the wild cucumber that persists in making my windbreak an unsightly tangle. The two and a half inches of rain in the past week makes the job of clearing that and other weeds difficult. It is also very satisfying because at least I can see the results of my efforts.

Bits of free time have allowed me to update my long term seasonal charts that go back to 1980. It seems impossible that thirty years have passed since I began studying how understanding price patterns can improve grain sales! I plan to have the updated charts on my website next week. This week I also spent a day taking my granddaughters to the airplane museum that is 30 miles straight west of my farm. Trips to this wonderful site have been numerous enough that my family bought a membership so we can go anytime we want.

I actually found time to watch a movie that I got through the on line service that I have subscribed to for a couple of years. It may not have been the best use of leisure time. My blood pressure was higher when I finished watching. The title was "Fed Up". It was promoted as a documentary. I would classify it more as anti-chemical and anti-GMO propaganda. It was mostly filmed in the San Francisco area of California. That might explain some of the bias of the subject matter.

I will give the producers of the film credit for being very skillful at blending war films from the 1940's with tape of modern agriculture to make farm chemicals look bad. They included just enough facts to make them look credible to the population who have no first-hand knowledge of farming. All of the footage of organic agriculture that they showed had the farmers in a stooped position taking care of their crops. I keep wondering how having a bad back is going to improve my overall health. More importantly, I wonder how they think we will find the population willing to do the stoop labor when they are used to city life.

I guess it is good to see a film like this occasionally so we understand how our detractors think. Those of us who farm in the Midwest seldom take the opportunity to explain how farming really works to our cousins who live in town. We are not going to change the attitudes of people like those in the film industry who benefit from spreading half truths. However, it seems that there should be some way to shine a little light on the true picture of modern farming. I feel for those farmers in California who are going to suffer financially from the forces that will make their businesses less profitable. I hope we never reach that level in Nebraska.

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