Radio Script 11-12-19

November moon in the high country.

According to a recent Farm Bureau poll, 91% of the 3,000 women who participated in the survey said they want to see more women fill leadership roles in agriculture. The 2017 USDA-agricultural census, showing increased interest and employment of women in the industry. Today, female producers make up 36% of the nation’s farmers a 27% percent increase from the 2012 census results. Of the 2.04 million farms and ranches in the U. S., 38% are owned or managed by female operators. 

Three senators are pushing the Federal Aviation Agency to include farmers, ranchers and rural communities on a seat at the Agency’s Drone Advisory Committee that determines its drone policies. Using drones in agricultural production is becoming more prominent on U. S. farms and ranches, with some producers using drones to monitor fields, locate livestock or even spray chemicals. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, Majority Whip John Thune and Michigan Democrat Gary Peters introduced a bill last week to establish a public nomination process to allow for broader representation on the Advisory Committee. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union and major commodity groups are backing this legislation.

On Thursday last week, the Chinese government suggested that the U. S. and China agreed to begin phasing out tariffs after the limited trade deal is signed, which sent the ag commodity markets higher. But 24 hours later, President Trump announced that there is no such understanding between the U. S. and China to scale back duties. He told reporters. “China would like to get somewhat of a rollback of duties, but not a complete rollback, because they know I won’t do it.” Grain markets have since retreated to levels last seen in late summer, and the USDA Economic Research Service reports that because of the large stocks of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, carryovers of these crops will likely plague farm gate prices on into the middle of this decade.

An Iowa State University survey of corn and soybean farmers suggests that there are three reasons that farmers support President Trump’s trade policies despite the costs. Over 80% of the 693 Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota farmers surveyed from February through June said trade disruptions had an adverse effect on their net farm income in 2018. Almost a third of these respondents reported that their income had dropped by over 20%. But the Trump administration’s $12 billion in trade mitigation payment eased their pain. While only 14% think their farm operations will be better off financially a year from now, more than half said they expected something good to ultimately come out of the trade war, and about 44% said they believe the U. S. economy will be stronger in three years. 56% of the respondents said that they supported imposing tariffs on Chinese products, while only 30% opposed them. Supporters also were positive that the reported U. S. China “phase one” of a possible comprehensive trade deal, where China has committed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of U. S. farm products offers the possibility of relief for farmers.

Now for an observation from Will Rogers. He said. “When you figure it right down, none of us are in a really essential business but the farmer, and he raises so much that even his business is partly non-essential.”

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