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What Farmers Are Reading This Week, January 3-10

The new year brought in a fresh crop of news.

The start of the year stirred up farmers’ interest with new equipment, a record-breaking yield, and actions from the government in the spotlight.

Along with the current events, readers gravitated toward articles about a weather recap, guidance, and future obstacles after a harsh year across the Corn Belt for many farmers.

And if you missed any of the top news that closed the decade, the Successful Farming staff has you covered with a recap over 2019 and all its ups and downs. 

READ MORE: What Farmers Were Reading in 2019

Corn ear husk pulled back.

1. How David Hula Grows 600-Bushel-Plus Corn

David Hula didn’t just eclipse the 600-bushel-per-acre mark to win the 2019 National Corn Yield Contest – he crushed it, hitting a record 616.195-bushel-per-acre yield.

And no, it wasn’t on super-fertile, jet-black land. It was generated from one of Hula’s sandy-loam fields in Charles City County, Virginia.

Read more here.

2. The Carhartt Silverado

For 2021, Chevrolet is offering a Carhartt version of its Silverado HD, that company announced recently.

Based on the Silverado 2500 LTZ crew cab, the special edition is paired with the Z71 Off-Road Package, including tuned twin-tube Rancho shocks, Hill Descent Control, and skid plates. 

Read more here.

3. Economists Lay Out Critical Issues Facing Farmers

For many of us, the new year is a time to reflect on the year (or decade) behind us and consider what may lie ahead of us. What will 2020 have in store?

Well, that is a daunting – if not impossible – question to answer in January. However, that doesn’t mean we are completely helpless in thinking about the significant issues ahead.

Read more here.

A farmer overlooks his farm as the sunsets.
iStock: Jevtic

4. How To Thrive On the Edge of Chaos: A Guide For Farmers

Vance Crowe is a communications consultant who thrives on chaos. He is a keynote speaker at the Land Expo 2020 in Des Moines on January 14. Successful Farming magazine caught up with him ahead of time to get a preview.

Read more here.

5. The Year of the Tractor

Following the year of the combine in 2018, more than a dozen new tractors were unveiled in 2019.

Read more here.

The USDA logo

6. USDA Approves State Hemp Production Plans

For all its cachet as a potential moneymaking crop for American farmers, industrial hemp ranked midway between safflower and flaxseed in plantings, with an estimated 230,000 acres in 2019, and industry leaders disagree whether 2020 will be a year of expansion or retrenchment. But the USDA is approving state plans to regulate hemp production and offering crop insurance for hemp growers, steps that could help establish the crop.

The 2018 farm law legalized hemp farming and the USDA issued a rule last October 24 to assure consistency among states in the oversight of growers. In the final days of 2019, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) approved production plans by three states — Louisiana, New Jersey, and Ohio — and plans by the Flandreau Santee Sioux, Santa Rosa Cahuilla, and La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian tribes.

Read more here.

7. 2019 Weather: Floods, Delays, and Disease, Oh My!

The past year will be remembered for its extremes. Flooding, fieldwork delays, and disease plagued commodity growers across the Corn Belt in 2019. Here’s a recap of the season farmers have described as tedious, temperamental, and trying.

Read more here.

8. What Farmers Need to Know About Plant-Based Protein

Danny O’Malley is the president and founder of Before the Butcher, home of Uncut plant protein. He has been in the food industry for 30 years, working for Sysco Food Service and then Beyond Meat, before starting his own plant-based protein company two and a half years ago.

O’Malley is a keynote speaker at the Land Expo 2020 in Des Moines on January 14, where he will focus on the evolution of plant-based meats and what the future holds, as well as the market’s broadening consumer base.

Read more here.

An illustration of China and the U.S. shaking hands.
iStock: Trifonenko

9. U.S. and China to Ease, but not End, Trade War Next Week

President Trump says he and Chinese officials will sign a Phase One trade agreement at the White House on January 15 that will de-escalate the Sino-U.S. tariff war that began in earnest in mid-2018. The agreement obligates China to buy up to $50 billion a year in U.S. farm exports, more than four times the sales level forecast for this year, according to U.S. officials, but details have not been released.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He plans to arrive in Washington on January 13 for the signing, which Trump announced unilaterally on social media on December 31, said the South China Morning Post on Sunday. “Trump is trying to take full credit for the Phase One deal as a major ‘win’ for the U.S. and for himself, but the Chinese, although eager to sign the deal to ensure stability, have been less inclined to make a major show.”

Read more here.

Untreated soybean seeds.

10. Not If Friday’s USDA Data Will be Bullish, but by How Much?

Come January, usually the only market factor with much influence on prices is South America’s weather. 

After all, they are our best competitor for world exports and this is their prime growing season. 

Read more here.

Top Listen of the Week

Hemp Seed Production

As states are preparing their hemp-cropping regulations, the excitement is growing. There is no doubt that hemp presents a new opportunity for growers to expand their cropping opportunities. If growing hemp is on your radar, just be sure you know exactly what you’re planting.

Wayne Gale is the chair of the American Seed Trade Association. He says he doesn’t know of any crop that has gone from zero-to-100 in a matter of just a few years. This has created a number of challenges, so they’re working to educate growers about where they can get seed, and what requirements to look for on the seed bag.

Read more and listen here.

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