Are the Bears Prepping for an Exit from the Grains?

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    It's been a week of looking ahead -- both to when the bears will run out of the grain markets and what farmers will plant more of this spring in the Corn Belt. On the latter story, more farmers say they'll up soybean acres this spring according to an poll, especially considering what it will take to raise corn this year, cost-wise.

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    Meanwhile, the markets have spent the week in mostly lower territory, with myriad factors -- fundamental and outside -- weighing in on a daily basis. Taking all the market-moving variables together, some analysts think the seasonal low for both corn and soybean prices could come as early as next week.

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    One of the major factors influencing grain prices right now is the record-high U.S. Dollar index. But, why does it have such a huge impact on the grains? Check out this week's feature from analyst and trader Scott Shellady and see why he thinks the strong dollar's going to be around for the next year and how you should plan for it in your grain marketing plans.

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    The culmination of the lower grain markets based on factors like the dollar is a slow softening of ag credit and financial conditions, the erosion of which hasn't been as sharp as earlier feared, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve this week.

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    Last week, about 700 farmland real estate agents and ag lenders got together in Iowa to discuss the state of their marketplace and try to clear up the crystal ball. Some of the sessions at last week's Land Investment Expo fueled a lot of feedback -- largely negative -- from farmers. See why and join the chat here!

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    One of that event's speakers -- by far the most high-profile -- was Donald Trump. In Iowa to test the political waters in preparation for a likely run for the White House in the next election, Trump talked about the farmland market as it relates to the market in which he's made millions. "The farm market will be back and it will be back strong," he said.

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    But, Trump didn't cause the biggest ripples at the Friday event. That fell on Dennis Gartman, a financial analyst who told the large group of farm real estate industry members that farmland's the worst investment in the nation right now. Instead, he said stocks should be the target for investment money in the next few months. What do you think of his remarks?

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    On the policy side this week, there's been a lot of talk about the renewable fuels business and its future in the policy arena, namely announcements that both ethanol and biodiesel could start to fall under even more market pressure from imports and future federal mandates. See more from Business Editor Dan Looker.

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    It's getting close to a big deadline for the new farm program: March 31 is the last day farmers can make their selection between ARC or PLC coverage with their local FSA office under the new farm program. Both programs have different coverage levels depending on your circumstances. Get educated here before you make your choice!

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    Will there be corn on your farm by the end of this century? It may not be possible, according to a report released late last week showing that climate change could alter the landscape in ways that will change crop production in major ways.

Speculation about when the grain markets' bottom will arrive and early spring planting ideas are big this week.

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