Radio Script 03-05-19

Tall corn country

Good Morning. This is Bob Bragg with the March 5th edition of Farm News and Views.

There’s been a lot of trade chatter over the past few days. On Friday, President Trump tweeted that he had asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on agricultural products because the trade talks were going nicely. Recently, the USDA reported that sales of soybeans and other farm commodities had fallen from 20 billion dollars in 2017 to 16.3 billion in the fiscal year 2018, and are projected to decrease by 9 billion dollars in 2019. These statistics are concerning to grain farmers who are suffering through the sixth year of low commodity prices. When coupled with the Congressional Budget Office projections indicating that farmers will grow near-record crops this year in an attempt to generate revenue, while at the same time, slowly working down a soybean stockpile that is expected to approach a billion bushels this summer This is the largest soybean inventory ever. So farmers are hoping for a trade resolution sooner rather than later. read more

Radio Script 2-19-19

Good morning! Welcome to the February 19th edition of Farm News and Views. This is Bob Bragg.

A couple of ag headlines bring home how weather often has a negative impact on farmers and ranchers. For example, an estimated 300,000 head of cattle were drowned due to flooding in northern Queensland, Australia, last week. The heavy rains have followed a drought that has plagued farmers and stockman in that state for the past seven years. read more

Radio Script 2-12-19

Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home in Kentucky

Good morning! Welcome to the February 12th edition of farm news and views.

Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, 210 years ago today, in Hardin County, in northwestern Kentucky. His father, Thomas, was a farmer who eked out a living on hard scrabble farms first in Kentucky, where they lived until Abraham was seven years old. After his father lost his farm in a land title dispute in 1816, they moved 100 miles northwest to Spenser County Indiana. His mother died there two years later, and his father remarried in 1819. Abraham grew up on the Spenser county farm, which probably helped form Abraham’s work ethic and character. In 1830, Thomas gave up on that densely wooded, hilly, and rocky farm, and moved his family, with help from his 21 years son, to Macon County Illinois, south of Decatur. Abraham then when out on his own and worked at a number of different jobs before practicing law and entering politics with election to the Illinois State Legislature in 1834. read more

Radio Script 2-5-19

Ridge tilling soybeans in Ohio
USDA ARS Photo by Kieth Weller

Good morning. This is Bob Bragg with the February 5th edition of farm news and views.

Trade has been a hot topic in agricultural news over the past week. When it was reported last Friday that Chinese negotiators announced that China would purchase 5 million metric tons of soybeans, the futures markets reacted with a giddy uptick on soybeans. But by Saturday morning, the balloon had burst, because everyone realized that there was no time table associated with the sale. While 5 million tons of soybeans sounds like a lot of beans, the phantom sale amounted to less than 4% of 2018’s total crop of 4.6 billion bushels, and soybean exports to China are already running way behind the quantity of beans that U.S. farmers had sold to China by this time last year. read more

Farm News and Views 1-29-19

Photo Courtesy of USDA ARS

Good morning. This is Bob Bragg. Welcome to the January 29th edition of Farm News and Views.

The end of the government shutdown is a relief for the 800,000 federal workers who haven’t received a paycheck since the shutdown started on December 21st . At this stage, it is unknown how fast the USDA will get the normal programs back on track, but farmers and ranchers who’ve not been able to negotiate loans, sign up for government crop and conservations programs are ready to get to work on planing for the 2019 growing season. read more

January 22 Radio Script

Colorado Snow Tim McCabe
Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

Good morning! Welcome to the January 22 edition of Farm News and Views. This is Bob Bragg.

If the cold weather and snow is getting you down, keep in mind that the mountain snow bank is receiving some good deposits that we can withdraw this summer. And, remember, spring will be here in eight weeks! read more

Agricultural Trade, Politics or Reality?

During President Trump’s speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Convention in New Orleans on January 14th, he spent most of the time justifying the boarder wall, but he assured Farm Bureau members that trade negotiations were going to result in long term gain for farmers. “We’re doing trade deals that are going to get you so much business that you’re not even going to believe it. Your problem will be, what do we do? We need more acreage immediately! We need to plant!” Trump said. I noticed that the audience was silent after this remark, unlike the standing ovations that he got when listing accomplishments of tax reform, repeal of the EPA Waters of the U. S. rule, modifications to the estate tax, and passage of the farm bill.  read more

January 15 Radio Program Script

Healthy soil is more than sand silt and clay. It contains millions of microscopic microbes, thousand of beneficial nematodes and water and carbon absorbing organic material.
Photo by Peggy Greb Courtsey, of USDA

Good morning! This is Bob Bragg. Welcome to the January 15th edition of Farm News and Views.

According to a new Government Accountability Office report published last week, nearly two million College students who may be eligible for food assistance might not be enrolled in the program and it suggests that the USDA should help these students sign up for SNAP benefits. The study found that low-income college students who are potentially eligible for food stamps usually have at least one additional risk factor for food insecurity. This includes being a first-generation college student or they are single parents. The report also encourages college administrators to help students understand that the program is available to them. read more

Monarchs Meet 21st Century Ag

An article in the Michigan Farm News about the dramatic decline of Eastern Monarch butterflies in the U. S. got my attention recently. It detailed how the population of this iconic insect has fallen from an estimated 1 billion to maybe 80 million in less than three decades due to habitat loss. The point with this decline is that the key habitat for Monarchs is common milkweed, a plant that used to be found in abundance in fence rows, wood lands, pastures and other non-crop areas throughout the Midwest. Without milkweed, the Monarch is doomed. read more