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Here’s how you should vote

When you vote November 4 – and if  you’re smart, you will vote because it does matter, no matter how frustrated you are with the sitting Congress – consider the next two years and the issues Congress will face.  Keep in mind most of the tough issues of the last two years were kicked down the road by the boys and girls running for reelection and the gentleman in the White House, now to be tackled, it’s hoped, by the 114th Congress and all those new, fresh, eager lawmakers.

Vote smart, whether for an incumbent with the experience and seniority to get things done, or for the challenger who is the breath of fresh air and new creative thinking the institution so desperately needs.  Avoid the party line vote; judge candidates on philosophy, positions, actions and experience not on the letter after their name or the size of their investment portfolio.

Here  are just some of the key issues that will directly impact your quality of life, as well as that of your family and your friends:

The economy broadly will be sharp focus, and that means spending, taxation and all those things that can spur investment and hiring, or send corporate executives scurrying for their bunkers.  Most on Capitol Hill admit sequestration was a budget gimmick that didn’t work, especially when it comes to defense, and that spending control is rightly a result of sound fiscal planning, i.e. the federal budget.  As for taxes, it’s more than just tax rates that need adjusting, it’s generating revenue once the corporate rate is cut closer to 25%, and personal rates are similarly adjusted. That means closing tax loopholes and eliminating what I call “gimme” tax breaks that have outlived their usefulness.  The other part of the tax equation is “inversion,” namely removing incentives for companies to stash income and profits overseas and away from Uncle Sam.

Food safety will rear its head again if – and likely when – Congress decides to get involved in “fixing” the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Just like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), FSMA is a great idea, it’s just being implemented strangely.  The conversations behind the scenes between the Hill and just about any industry impacted by FSMA center on a startling lack of real benefit given the costs involved, and an FDA that’s raised – or lowered – the art of Draconian rule-writing to an art form.

Energy policy must finally be addressed, and again I’m talking broadly.  First, Congress needs to actually agree on a national energy agenda, one that recognizes oil – domestic or foreign – will not disappear from the fuel list overnight.  We need continued smart exploration and exploitation.  As for the alternatives, love ‘em or hate ‘em, biofuels hold the promise as alternatives to fossil fuels of any stripe.  However, should we be providing tax incentives?  Is a federal mandate creating an arbitrary market for the use of such fuels the way to go?  Or, is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) doing exactly what it was intended to do, fostering feedstock innovation, stimulating investment and increasing volumes?

When it comes to climate change – whatever your definition of that phenomenon may be – is the federal government the appropriate entity to protect us or help us adapt to a fickle Mother Nature?  Is climate change better dealt with by corporate use of “best” green technologies, and for farmers, are voluntarily shifting cropping patterns and swapping out livestock species based on a “new” weather patterns the more efficient way?

On environmental protection, can we regulate ourselves to clean air and water?  Are mandatory federal and arbitrary one-size-fits-all clean air, clean water and clean-anything rules the way to usher in a green revolution?

Immigration reform battles will likely begin in mid-December when President Obama takes expected executive action to “fix” parts of federal immigration law without Congress’ input.  Will a GOP-controlled House, with an eye firmly fixed on the 2016 presidential race and remembering who voted for the sitting President, embrace the bipartisan reform bill? Recognizing there are 8-12 million undocumented workers in the U.S., most doing jobs our citizens won’t, and without whom industries like agriculture simply cannot function, does it matter whether these folks gain “legal status” or embark on a 10-year trek to citizenship?

We need less all-or-nothing rhetoric, less table pounding and a lot less finger-pointing.  If you’re a lawmaker who doesn’t care about being reelected, don’t run in the first place.  We need lawmakers who are in office, not for their personal aggrandizement, but because they believe they have something to contribute for the voters who elected them. Congress should not be a retirement village.

I only ask, plead, beg that you vote.  No matter your political persuasion, it’s is critical you take advantage of a right much of the world envies.  On November 4, get in the car or truck and make it your day’s priority to take the five or 10 minutes necessary to register your preference.  Vote your heart, your gut and your mind.

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Friday midday cash livestock prices

USDA Mandatory is reporting a light cattle trade in Kansas on light to moderate demand. Compared to last week, live sales are 2.00 lower at 168.00. Trading is mostly inactive in all other areas. There are a few bids in the North on a live basis from 263.00 to 265.00. Asking prices remain around 170.00 to 172.00 in the South and 270.00 plus in the North.

Boxed beef cutout values are lower in the morning report with choice down 1.58 at 251.77, select is .23 lower 239.17.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Mitchell Livestock Auction at Mitchell, SD totaled 3250 head on Thursday. Steer calves were mostly steady with instances of 5.00 higher, yearlings had steady to firm undertones on a few comparable sales. Heifers from 3.00 lower to 4.00 higher with the advance on weights over 500 pounds. Good to very good demand for calves and yearlings. Feeder steer calves medium and large 1 averaging 614 pounds traded at 271.45 per hundredweight. 777 pound heifers brought 230.49.

Barrows and gilts in all direct trade areas are not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat prince is steady from 78.00 to 80.00. Barrows and gilts at Midwest markets are lightly tested with most interests out of the market on Friday. A few steady from 56.00 to 74.00 live.

The pork carcass cutout value is down .91 at 96.93 FOB plant. Bellies and picnics are higher, but all other cuts are lower.

With the pork cut-out stumbling lower again, suggestions of a seasonal bottom seem quite tenuous at this point. While processors margins have improved this week, they remain seasonally disappointing.


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Truth About Trade & Technology hosts global farmer roundtable

wfp-global farmer roundtable 10-14In conjunction with World Food Prize activities in Des Moines, the organization Truth About Trade & Technology sponsors a global farmer roundtable.

This year’s roundtable included 16 farmers from around the world.  One of them was Ian Pigott, who run a diversified 2,000 acre farm 20 miles north of London, England.  In addition to being a roundtable participant, Pigott was also the recipient of the 2014 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award.  He was honored for his efforts to bride the gap between agricultural producers and consumers.

AUDIO: Ian Pigott

Another participant in the global farmer roundtable was Craige MacKenzie from New Zealand, who is involved in row crops and dairy and run a precision ag company.

AUDIO: Craige MacKenzie

The chairman of Truth About Trade & Technology is Bill Horan, a farmer from Rockwell City, Iowa.

AUDIO: Bill Horan

The vice-chairman of the group is Tim Burrack, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa.

AUDIO: Tim Burrack

(Photo courtesy Joe Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association)

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Cold wave races into the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, snow is falling in the upper Great Lakes region, while rain showers stretch southward from Lower Michigan through the Ohio Valley. Sharply colder air is overspreading the entire region, with Friday morning’s low temperatures generally ranging from 15 to 25° in the upper Midwest. The adverse weather conditions, which include gusty winds, are causing renewed corn and soybean harvest delays.

On the Plains, Friday morning’s temperatures plunged below 20° in parts of the Dakotas and northern Nebraska. Markedly colder weather covers the remainder of the region, except for mild, breezy conditions on the northern High Plains. Along the leading edge of the cold air, a cluster of thunderstorms in affecting southern Texas.

In the South, mostly dry weather accompanies cooler conditions, favoring a continuation of fall fieldwork. A chilly rain is developing, however, across the interior Southeast—primarily in Kentucky and Tennessee. 

In the West, showers are spreading across northwestern California and the Pacific Northwest. Farther inland, warm, dry weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm system.

Morning Low Temperature Plot

Weather Alerts

Forecast High Temperatures (National)


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Milder weather forecast to return to the Heartland

The coldest air of the season is overspreading the eastern half of the U.S. Weekend freeze warnings have been issued from parts of the central and southern Plains into portions of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. Additional freeze warnings may be required in the Southeast early next week. As cold air arrives, rain will change to snow showers from the Great Lakes region into the central and southern Appalachians. Weekend snow can also be expected in parts of New England. Meanwhile, a storm will continue to push inland across the West, resulting I n precipitation totals of 2 to 4 inches in the Pacific Northwest; 1 to 3 inches in the northern Rockies; and 1 to 2 inches in the Sierra Nevada. By early next week, the interaction between the storm and moisture associated with eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Vance could result in heavy rain from the southern Plains into the middle Mississippi Valley.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for warmer-than-normal weather nationwide, except for near-normal temperatures across the Deep South. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation from California to the central and southern Plains and the western Corn Belt will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions east of the Mississippi, in the Gulf Coast region, and across the nation’s northern tier.

5-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA’s 6- to 10- Day Outlook

NOAA’s 8- to 14- Day Outlook


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November Scholarship & Internship Deadlines

Nov. 3
Missouri Pork internship deadline

Nov. 14
GFAI scholarship deadline

Nov. 15
FFA scholarship application period opens. Visit for details.

Nov. 20
SOY scholarship deadline

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