Big in ag: Mother Nature gets extreme

  • 01

    It's been another week of weather extremes in key crop-growing regions of the world as officials in Washington D.C. look ahead to how this year's crop output and incomes will stack up. They're just a couple of the big stories in ag this week.

  • 02

    Eighteen states have been affected by a winter weather system this week. Farmers in the Plains have had in excess of a foot of snow as the system -- which will be followed by another winter blast early next week -- as the storm moves east.

  • 03

    While the snow falls in the Plains & Midwest, ag officials are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week for their annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. The main message: Crop prices are and will remain high, enticing farmers to plant crops of major size this year. But, that could cause major price shifts.

  • 04

    While it's snow that's the big weather story in the U.S., it's moisture extremes of both varieties in South America. In Argentina, farmers are battling dry conditions while farmers in Brazil are fighting major rainfall.

  • 06

    The issues in South America are mainly affecting the soybean crop. But, some experts say there's still a whale of a crop coming out of the field there. And, despite this week's upward move in the soybean trade, one analyst says $11/bushel soybeans could be in the cards later this year.

  • 07

    But, longer-term, how will soybean prices shake out? Another expert says the USDA Prospective Plantings report next month will go a long way to determining whether prices will be closer to $11 or $15.

  • 08

    Volatility like that in the range of potential soybean prices likely isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, it's likely to become the "new normal," one prominent agribusiness leader said this week. That will likely be true on both the supply and demand sides of the crop business.

  • 09

    But, not all volatility should come without some protection. That's one of the outcomes of the MF Global case, which is nearing its final resolution. Will the case lead to the formation of an entity similar to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation that protects stock and bond investments?

  • 10

    Elsewhere in the last week,'s John Walter sat down with the founder of Twitter and Nebraska farmboy Evan Williams, who says the entrepreneurial nature of farmers isn't too unlike that of today's technology company founders and leaders.

It's been a week of too dry in some areas, too wet in others and a major winter return. See what else is big in ag this week.

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