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Hope springs eternal

Agriculture.com Staff 03/05/2010 @ 8:51am

There is nothing like a warm, sunny day in March (when the day's are longer) to help warm the spirits. Yes, hope does spring eternal in spring! To feel the warmth of the sun in these late winter days reminds us that spring will indeed arrive sometime soon, and with it the snow will melt and temperatures will warm eventually to a point where seeds might even germinate, and the growth of life begins again.

This is the life which we all love in agriculture, the life which we all enjoy as we are a big part of nature. I remember as a child watching when the baby calves were born in spring, and they jump around in the pasture in the sunshine in early mornings. Spring is where the buds spring open on trees, and once again nature comes to life, and makes us so glad to be alive again.

Farmers feel that surge in their spirits as they think about once again tilling the soil, and planting the seeds of life into the soil. These are the seeds which feed towns, cities, states, nations, and our world. The beauty of the cycle of life is deep in the hearts of farmers everywhere.

And along with that deep love of nature, and deep desire to aid it in the work of farmers, we also have a deep hope of having decent prices from these products we manufacture with God's help. Hope springs eternal that these prices will cover our costs of production, and make it profit not only our souls, but also our pocketbook so that we can feed our children, heat our homes, pay for our machinery and land payments, give our tithes to God and Caesar his taxes, and maybe even have a little left over for a nice vacation some where.

Today, these prices are not necessarily providing that full appreciation for the beauty of our produce, or the value which it should bring in the marketplace. Now at $4.50 corn, and $11 soybeans it's a different story, with a decent profit offered for our efforts. Even at $4.15 corn and 9.40 soybeans there is some profit offered, but not a lot.

Lately prices have rallied back to these 'decent' levels that will cover our costs of production, but won't necessarily provide any excess. Prices are languishing in this middle of the road range, not giving any opportunity to price our grains at either low levels (for buyers of grain), or at high levels (for sellers of grain).

Meanwhile, insurance prices have been set for 2010, with corn at 3.99 and soybeans at $9.23. These are decent levels, actually a little higher for soybeans than 2009 ($8.80 in 2009), but a little lower for corn ($4.04). HRS wheat at $5.43 is actually much less than 2009, and is the one commodity that has seen prices come under some pressure since last year. Ironically, USDA expects HRS wheat acreage to be higher in 2010, an irony not lost on those who follow HRS wheat prices. Expecting HRS wheat acres to be higher when paid $1 less while corn and soybean prices are steady, is perhaps a stretch to say the least!

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