Propane Problems; 'Holding a Dead Rat'
Finally! A farm bill! Lawmakers finally moved the legislation forward to passage this week as much of the U.S. remained under harsh winter weather conditions that spawned some major issues for farmers. They're just a couple of the big stories in ag this week.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the farm bill by a wide margin, moving it to the Senate, then to President Barack Obama's desk for signing. See all the latest on the bill here from Agriculture.com policy expert Dan Looker.
One of the biggest ways the weather's made life tough on the farm, especially in the upper Midwest in the last few days, is in keeping the warm air flowing for both man and beast. And, a logjam of liquid propane -- and resulting skyrocketing prices in the last two weeks -- has caused some major problems.
In the last week, there's been speculation about the upcoming soybean crop and the likelihood of more bean acres planted this spring. Will you plant more soybeans this year? Either more will need to be planted, or usage will have to slow, experts agree.
The biggest corn crop ever? Some scuttlebutt has been to that effect on the CME Group trading floor in the last week. It's all just talk right now, but traders are doing the talking, and it could influence trading moving forward. See more from this week's Big Picture.
The largely lower expectations for crop income in the coming year have hit the ag machinery marketplace in the form of less farmer spending on big-ticket items like tractors and combines. That was the case at least in the last quarter of 2013, according to a report released this week by the Federal Reserve.
The cattle market has seen some record-high prices lately. And with the right conditions (or lack of the wrong conditions), it could be time for some major beef herd expansion, one expert said this week.
The long-awaited farm bill's passage and weather-related input worries are big stories this week.