Business Editor


Hedging margins

Don’t be afraid to use outside advice to help you know when to lock in a margin.

Don't panic, lock in margins

Even with Friday's selloff in corn and bean futures, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist Steve Johnson isn't swerving from his advice to lock in margins, in part by starting to sell 2011 crops at prices that are relatively high.

"People are operating on emotion. Don't lose tracek. These are good prices," Johnson told farmers, landowners and others at an outlook and management conference in Altoona, Iowa, Friday.


GIPSA debate heats up with economic study

A USDA rule intended to put teeth in the 89-year-old
Packers and Stockyards Act was debated at dueling press conferences held in
Kansas City, Missouri, Wednesday as the National Association of Farm
Broadcasters began its annual convention there.

Ethanol lobbyist sees little shift in policy from GOP wave

Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association,
told reporters Wednesday that he doesn’t expect a major shift in support for
ethanol after the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the
November 2 election.

“Will that have a meaningful impact on the U.S. ethanol industry?  I believe the answer to that is No.  

Ethanol is not now, nor has it ever been a partisan issue,”
Dinneen said.


Panel sees ethanol as expensive, inefficient

The food versus fuel debate found a new audience Tuesday at the Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida sponsored by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The consensus of a panel of experts was that more use of biofuels affects food.

“Ethanol is driving up food prices. The only question is how much,” said Ian Goldin, former vice president of the World Bank and now director of Oxford University’s Oxford Martin School.

Hunger politics grow tougher

To David Beckmann, feeding the poor is a moral obligation
tied to his Christian faith as a Lutheran Minister and president of Bread for
the World.

“God is calling us to get with the program,” he said
several times this week when he and Jo Luck, president of Heifer International,
were in Des Moines, Iowa to jointly receive the World Food Prize.

EPA set to back limited E15

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce
later today that it’s approving limited use of 15% ethanol blends in cars that
are 2007 models or newer. It would be the agency’s latest response to a
petition to increase the blend limit that was made in 2009 by the ethanol
lobbying group, Growth Energy.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the
Finance Committee and a strong proponent of ethanol, said Wednesday that he
welcomes EPA’s likely decision.

Expanding distiller grains markets

As the ethanol industry grows toward a 15 billion gallon market by 2015, exports of its byproduct, distillers grains, are expected to grow from 7 million metric tons (mmt) last year to 11 mmt,

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That’s the outlook from Erick Erickson, the U.S. Grains Council’s special assistant for planning, evaluation and projects.