Radio Script 6-4-19

Flooded fields still plaguing U. S. farmers

Good morning! This is Bob Bragg with the June 4th edition of Farm News and Views.

I hate to sound like the proverbial broken record, but the top ag news today…You guessed it weather and trade or maybe trade and weather.

Soggy fields are still keeping many farmers out to their fields in the Midwest, but weather forecasts are calling for rains to let up later this week in the Corn Belt. The U.S. corn planting in 2019, is the slowest pace in USDA records dating back to 1980. As of May 26, only 58% of the country’s estimated 92.8 million corn acres have been planted. The five-year average for this time off year is 90%. Soybean planting is only at 29% complete on 84.6 million acres allocated to this crop, with he five-year average for late May of 66% planted.

Last week, the futures markets rallied because of mounting concerns about the slow pace of crop planting. But on Thursday evening, President Trump tweeted that he will impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports starting on June 10th, and threatened additional tariffs of up to to 25% in the coming months, if Mexico doesn’t take action to “reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens” crossing into the U. S.

The futures markets for corn, soybeans, cotton and pork were down sharply on Friday for good reasons. The U. S. is expected to export about 137 billion dollars in agricultural products worldwide this year, with $45 billion dollars of this trade going Mexico, our largest ag trading partner, and about $20 billion dollars going to Canada, our second largest ag trading partner.

Both Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the U. S.Chamber of Commerce called on President Donald Trump to back down from the threat to impose punitive tariffs on Mexican imports. Bosco de la Vega, head of Mexico’s national farm council stated that retaliatory measures should only be applied as a last resort and that he supports the Mexican government’s efforts to first seek a negotiated settlement to the dispute. However, he emphasized that any potential retaliation should seek to cause the U.S. leader maximum political pain, possibly by implementing tariffs aimed at farm products from Republican states. Potential targets for the Mexican government’s possible retaliation, include yellow corn, pork legs, apples, potatoes and whiskey.

The U. S. based Beer Institute pointed out the most of the Mexican beer sold in the U. S. is made from U. S. grown barley and hops. If Mexico places retaliatory tariffs these important ingredients and the U. S. ratchets up tariffs on imports from Mexico, U. S. Mexican beer drinkers may be crying in their beer by the end of this summer.

It’s now officially legal for farmers to grow hemp in the state of Arizona, which joins 40 other states where hemp production is legal. The Arizona Hemp Program, which launched last Saturday, falls under the jurisdiction of the state’s agriculture department. The program allows hemp to be used to manufacture products that are allowed to be shipped across state lines. More than 200 people across Arizona have already applied for licenses to grow hemp.

Many farmers in much of Montezuma County have been slow to start their irrigation systems this year. With soil profiles well saturated with winter and spring moisture, adding more water creates some risk of creating water logged soils that may inhibit plant growth.

Adli Stevenson said, “A wise does not try to hurry history. Many wars have been avoided by patience, and many have been precipitated by reckless haste.”

Until next week. I’m Bob Bragg.

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