Filed under: Farm, Ice, Minnesota, safety, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, farm, icy roads, Minnesota, road closed, roads, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter
I live on a closed road. At least it is still as of 9 a.m. today.Yep, all of those orange roads on this map of Minnesota are closed. There were quite a few more of them when I got up at 5:30 this morning.
Yesterdays snowfall was beautiful, but it fell wet, while the air temperatures were above freezing, and we have a lot of ice on roads. Right now the winds are still kicking in at 20 to 30 mph. That means that out here on the prairie we have blowing snow. The blowing snow is keeping the roads from being cleared. Although there was not that much snow here, about 2 inches, the wind is filling in the roads in the areas that have drifted banks.
I spent a few hours moving snow this morning. I’m expecting feed trucks in the yards once the roads are open again. When I was out this morning I did see a bit of traffic, and cars in the ditch, plus some folks getting off of the night shift who were having trouble getting home. But now I am home. With roads being what they are, I think I’ll stay home for a bit. After all I have a good excuse, my road is closed.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Farm Bureau, food, retirement, Soybeans | Tags: Agriculture education, beef, children, Corn, farm, Farm Bureau, farm size, farmers, Food, Soybeans
The 2012 Census of Agriculture preliminary report is out and the number of farms here in the U.S. is again down, but the amount of land is farms is down also. Now you have to understand that the census says a farm is “any place from which $1,000 of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.” So many of these farms are, strictly speaking, only a small part of the family income. Still they are considered farms. You can see the whole Census report here.
Oh, and yes the average size of a farm is up, but only to 434 acres per farm. This is far from mega-farm size.
A distressing to me stat from the report is the increase in age of our countries farmers. While the number of farmers under age 34 has not changed much, those who farm and are between 35 and 54 years of age has decreased, and the number of those over 55 is increasing. Farming is hard work, and to be depending on those near or over retirement age to supply our countries food is dangerous. Fully 63% of our nations farms are operated by those over 55.
Now at 60, I admit to being part of that group, and I am looking forward to retirement soon. I am not going to wait until 84 to turn over the farm to someone younger as my father has. We need young folks on the farm, but if you have health problems, or are smart enough, you can make much more money in a city job than you can on a farm. I watch with admiration those young folks I see in Farm Bureau who are already making a go of farming. I would be proud to turn over the reins of todays agriculture to any of them.
Corn-soybean belt farmers have just come out of some great years for income on the farm, and beef producers have just finished some of the most heart breaking years you can imagine. I hope that out of these years we will see some enthusiastic young people step forward to run the farms of tomorrow. Our countries food independence is vital and having families on the farm is the only way to guarantee it.
Filed under: cold, Minnesota, snow | Tags: children, cold, Minnesota, snow
The forecast is for 41 degrees today! This will be our 3rd day in a row of above freezing weather! It’s snowman weather!Most of the United States thinks that Minnesotan’s are related to polar bears. In what other state of the union will you find people abandoning coats, hats and gloves just because the thermometer is over 30 degree? My school bus “lost and found” is always overflowing with winter wear that no one claims. Then when we really want to get crazy, we go jump into the water.CRAZY!
Really though, I think we have become acclimated to winter. While I don’t like the 30 below with a whipping wind stuff, I have found myself walking around with no coat on this week. This is really a treat! Too bad it will not last. Tomorrow we are back into the old deep freeze, but for now, we play.
Filed under: Ag education, Corn, Farm, Soybeans | Tags: Agriculture education, China, Corn, farm, grain markets, Soybeans
With all of the doom and gloom in the forecast for corn and soybean prices you would expect that prices would be gong down every day. For the most part, they are. Yet for those who are patient there have been opportunities to sell their grain at slightly better prices, and now is one of them.
When we crossed into 2014 I was certain that I would not sell another bushel of corn for over $4.25, and yet today I hit another target, and sold more of my 2013 corn crop. This is the third sale I have made in February and all of them have been have been over $4.25 and two have been over $4.35! Now I am not saying that this price will bring me a large profit, but it will ensure that I can pay my bills. Now if prices do fall below $4.00 I will feel better since I locked in a small profit, rather than a loss.
So why are prices rising? So many factors are pushing prices down. South America is harvesting a large crop, livestock numbers are down and we have a lot of crop in the bins. Prices should be falling.
Despite the large crop in South America, they have transportation issues with poor roadsand their corn and soybeans will not be at the ports for some time yet. Buyers who need corn and soy now, must still look to the U.S. When you look at the basis levels (the difference between the CME price and farm price) in the markets, you can see that end users need the corn and soybeans now, and are not getting enough of them.
The beef herd has taken a real hit with drought and is nearing record low numbers. Pork herds are battling disease problems and are not as large of a demand for corn and soy as they could be. But beef production does not use the large amounts of corn and soybeans that pork and poultry do, so their effect is minimal, and the pork and poultry industry can turn numbers around much faster and thus fill demand for protein faster than does beef.
The farmers are not exactly willing sellers at these prices. Many have sufficient cash reserves from the last two years of high prices and are holding on to their 2014 crop hoping for higher prices. Recent memory of corn over $7.00 is still causing many to hold out for more.
The biggest difference in the markets today vs. a few years ago is China. China has already purchased, and is expected to purchase more corn and soybeans from our current world stockpiles. A newly industrialized populous is demanding food that was not available to them just a few years ago. The Chinese people have money, and they want more than rice. The demand for protein in China has increased with the rising economy and will continue to rise for some time now.
What the future holds for the corn and soybean markets, I am not exactly sure, but I can tell you that markets are not reacting today like they did just a few years ago. There have been new factors entered into the market, and until their effect is completely understood, we are all just guessing.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Farm Bureau, genetic modification, GMO, Politics | Tags: Agriculture education, assumptions, Corn, EU countries, farm, Farm Bureau, food safety, GMO, gmo debate, GMO's, politics, science
I was reading a “GMO Fact Sheet” put out by an anti-GMO group recently and was struck by several of their “facts” that I knew to be untrue. One of those “facts” was that GMO’s were banned in the European Union (EU), and since they were banned there, all other “right thinking” countries should also ban them.
There were some assumptions made by these “fact finders” that are indeed not facts. First off was the assumptions that since a few vocal countries have so far banned certain GMO transformation events, then all GMO’s are banned in all of the EU. This assumption is wrong on two counts.
Assumption 1) The EU bans all GMO’s.
The EU is not united in banning GMO’s. There are several of the countries in the EU that allow the planting and use of GMOs. EU countries are allowing the import of more GMO’s every year.
Assumption 2) Since a few GMO events are banned, they all must be banned.
In a conversation I had with a member of the EU delegation to the Farm Bureau meeting in San Antonio, I found out that there are very few GMO events that are not allowed for import into the EU.
The EU has been a bit slower to approve the planting of GMO crops than the U.S., but that is changing rapidly. Farmers in Italy and France, once the heart of anti-GMO outrage, are now seeing the advantage in planting GMO crops. Now the problem is not local opposition, but laws passed in the past that are the obstacle to planting GMO’s. These laws are being, or will be lifted as local farmers see that they are falling behind.
All too often I see people making assumptions when faced with a few facts. They assume that because (a) is true, (bcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz) is also true. Be careful in what you assume.
Filed under: machines | Tags: battery, beep, cheep, machines, pocket knife
A few weeks ago I started hearing a small cheeping or beeping sound around the house. I tried tracking it down but to no avail. It was not happening on a predictable interval and was very small. Then on our trip to Colorado I start hearing it again.
We tried tracking it down in the condo, and on the car ride home. We determined that it was indeed something that I had on me. I turned my cell phone off, but still it beeped. I have no pacemaker or other battery operated things in me so that was out. I separated my phone and my camera to different parts of the car, but still it eluded us. Then I had a thought. Bingo, I had it!I have a pocket knife with an electronic clock in it. The clock has not worked in years, so I forgot about it, but sometime recently the alarm clock had been turned on inadvertently, and it was going off whenever its poor dying battery could get up enough juice. I removed the battery and the phantom went away.
Filed under: cars, family, Minnesota, snow, weather | Tags: Altitude, children, family, Minnesota, skiing, snow, twin granddaughters, twins, weather, winter, Winter Park, Winter Park Colorado
When my son and daughter-in-law call up and say “We need someone to watch the twins,” it’s hard for Grampy and Nain to say no. When it means traveling to a place you have never been before it can be even more fun. This time we also included the rest of our children in the adventure so it was a mini family reunion in Colorado.
Paul and family stopped on Wednesday and loaded us into their Chevy Traverse. Four adults and two two-and-a-half year olds in a car headed to our daughters place in south central Nebraska. Our son-in-law has been working there since November, and our daughter just moved in January so it was a chance to see their new place. After taking a day to check out their new place, we loaded our six, plus our daughter into the Traverse and headed for Winter Park, Colorado.It was a lot of fun traveling together and made the trip so much better for all of us. Our daughter is 7 months pregnant and needed to stop every two hours for a walk and stretch which coincided with the needs of the twins.
Our little southwestern Minnesota town is at 1400 feet above sea level, and our daughter lives at about 2000 feet, so we are all low-level people. Winter Park is at 9100 feet. Finding breathable air for this old guy was a problem. Family members that were skiing rode the lift to the top of Mary Jane which tops out at 11,200 feet. I’m glad I did not go up there.
Our youngest teaches school in Colorado Springs, so she drove up to be with us for the weekend. All 8 of us stayed in a 900 sq. foot, three bedroom condo in Winter Park. It was a bit of a squeeze.We were on the third floor. Two flights of steps carrying luggage and girls can leave an old guy winded in the thin air.
As you can see, Winter Park has plenty of snow. My nephew, who is on the ski patrol at Winter Park, told us that they have twice the snow of normal this year. Total snow fall is now over 200 inches.
While mom, dad and Auntie Em went off skiingGrampy, Nain and Aunt B played games and read books. We also got to take them sleddingand attempted to make a snow man with them. The high light of the trip for the girls was the chance to go to the resort and have lunch together. They got to ride in the little red wagons provided by the parkand watch the skiers glide down the mountain. A fun time was had by all.