You are here

What Farmers Are Reading This Week, December 6-13

If you missed anything this week, we’ve got you covered.

The Successful Farming staff covered a wide range of topics the past week. Harvest is wrapped up for many, and most Corn Belt farmers shifted their focus to different topics.

Farmers gravitated toward hot topics like the USMCA and recent farmland sales. Others sought out coverage over farm management and research studies.

Here’s a recap of what intrigued farmers the most this past week.

1. It’s Farmland Sale Season. Are You In the Market? 

If you’re in the mood to buy farmland, you’re likely to see more of it available this winter. Calendars are filling up with farmland auctions across the Midwest. “There sure seems to be more offered for sale this year than last year,” says Dave Luckey, real estate broker with Buss Realty and Auction, Columbus, Nebraska. 

Prices paid for average farmland are trending downward from the highs of 2012-13, but high-quality farmland continues to fetch top dollar.

Read more here

2. USDA/WASDE Data Left Mostly Unchanged – Markets Ignore Report

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The U.S. pile of soybeans is not changing much, while the corn stocks are expected to end the marketing year about the same as expected a month ago, according to the USDA Tuesday.

As a result, the CME Group’s corn and soybean markets have little reaction.

Read more here

3. How to Kill Rural Arkansas

Often lost in the haze of debates about cow farts and how farmers are ruining everything is a deeper story about the hollowing out of rural America — and by this I mean the agricultural spaces that have historically anchored small towns and provided caretaking for thousands of miles of country roads, thousands of acres of private forests, grasslands, and more.

Earlier this fall two news stories grabbed my attention thanks to their local and national implications. The first was a piece by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette where the finance officers in Washington and Benton Counties detailed the coming problems the population boom in the region’s cities were making for county budgets and the maintenance of an already overburdened rural system.

Read more here.

4. USDA Opens Enrollment as Conservation Reserve Grows for First Time Since 2007

The Conservation Reserve sign-up that opens on Monday could see landowners idle the largest amount of fragile cropland in years, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, although some analysts say lower government payment rates will hold down enrollment. The 2018 farm law raised the acreage ceiling for the reserve, the largest U.S. land-idling program, by 3 million acres.

Created in 1985 during an agricultural recession, the reserve sends an annual rental payment to landowners who agree to take fragile land out of crop production for 10 years or more. In its early years, the program sometimes looked like an income buttress for a weak farm sector. In recent decades, environmental benefits, such as improved water quality, less runoff, and increased wildlife habitat, have been given higher priority. The government spent $1.9 billion on the reserve in fiscal 2019.

Read more here.

The Canadian, Mexican, and American flags.
iStock: ronniechua

5. China To Buy Additional $32 Billion In U.S. Farm Goods Over Two Years, Sign Deal In January

China has agreed to buy $32 billion of additional U.S. farm products over two years as part of a phase one trade pact, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters on Friday, adding the deal would be signed the first week of January.

As part of the agreement, Beijing agreed to buy roughly $16 billion more in American agricultural products in each of those years, adding to the 2017 baseline of $24 billion, Lighthizer added, but Beijing agreed to strive for some $5 billion in additional purchases each year.

Read more here.

Matt Raasch

6. Starting Strong: Young Farmers Survive on Solid Roots and Innovation

Farmers today face more regulation and scrutiny than ever before. Markets are volatile and complex. Technological advancements come at a dizzying pace. Yet, they remain optimistic and focused on the traits that have always been the hallmark of farmers: diversification, sustainability, stewardship, sound business, scientific adoption, hard work, common sense, and the ability to think on their feet and adapt.

Here, five young farmers tell their stories of how they are building a solid foundation and a bright future on the farm.

Read more here.


7. Optimum Buys 5,587 Acres of Georgia Farmland from Generation Farms

Optimum Agriculture (Optimum), a Miami-based company focused on land acquisition and management, has acquired through Optimum ICD Holdings LLC 5,587 acres of farmland, processing facilities and the trademark Generation Farms, as well as other assets in Tattnall and Toombs counties, Georgia, from Generation Farms. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

Generation Farms grows, packs, and ships onions, watermelons, and other produce through its operations in and around Vidalia, Georgia. Optimum plans to continue these operations, including supplying many of Generation Farms’ previous customers. 

Read more here.

Cover Crop seed
Bill Spiegel

8. Research Shows Cover Crops Pay

The decision to plant cover crops in the quest for improved soil health is not an easy one. Cover crop seed can be expensive, and without a long-term strategy, the practice can leave farmers wondering, “is that all?” 

However, long-term research from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) shows that cover crops do a great job of suppressing herbicide-resistant weeds, according to results from the annual National Cover Crop Survey, administered by SARE and the Conservation Tillage Industry Council from 2012-16.

Read more here.

New 6631 Sunflower Vertical Tillage System Thumbnail

9. Slash Costs by Cutting a Pass Across the Field

Eliminating a tillage pass this year saves more than fuel (which can cut fuel costs $2 to $7 an acre). Employing this strategy not only boosts equipment longevity (fewer hours on tractors, less wear on soil-engaging components, etc.) but also hands you a time and labor bonus.  

The University of Illinois calculates machinery costs that include fuel, labor, and overhead expenses including depreciation, interest, insurance, housing, and repairs. All costs are based on buying new machinery and owning machinery for 10 years.

Read more here.

Successful Farming editors pose with Illinois farmer Rob Sharkey around a table of 2019 farm family gift ideas
Photo Credit: David Ekstrom

10. 2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Farmers

This holiday season Successful Farming editors teamed up with Illinois farmer Rob Sharkey, The Shark Farmer, to round up a list of gift ideas for the whole farm family. This holiday gift guide includes tools, technology, and other items sure to please the loved ones on your farm.

Read more here

Top Listen of the Week

2020 Farm Health And Wealth – National Corn Growers Association

See more episodes here

Top Watch of the Week

Idaho Farm Shop Tour, Case IH Maxxum 125 Sells, and More!

Subscribe here

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Agronomy Tip: Add soil testing to your list

Do soil testing on your farm.

Talk in Marketing

Most Recent Poll

What is your favorite social media platform?