(Jim) Good morning folks and welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host, and we’re at the Commodity Classic in Manhattan, Kansas today. We’re going to be interviewing representatives of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, Soybean Association, Grain Sorghum Association and the Wheat Growers Association. Stay with us and we’ll be right back and hear what they have to say.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer and with us we have Clayton Short, the Chairman of the Grain Sorghum Commission here in Kansas from Saline County. And just real briefly Clayton, tell me what are the good things that are going on for grain sorghum producers or agriculture in general in Kansas? (Clayton) I think all of us know that the grain price is suffering a little bit however, the sorghum price with our improved basis has been impressive. We all know the cattle situation, with record prices. We’re seeing record basis levels and that is attributed to the Chinese exports. We are very excited about that. I think our next issue will be, is can we get those prices, can be get those bases to roll the new crop, 2015
crop? We’re making cropping decisions now and we’ve got to have some movement there to force more sorghum acres in the ground. (Jim) Right, right. Well a lot of those acres have gone to corn and soybeans over the years. (Clayton) They have. (Jim) But I think with the low prices with corn you know, sorghum’s looking a lot better. (Clayton) Absolutely and we’ve got some water issues in Kansas- that’s positive for sorghum. We’ve got some of the larger companies, seed companies and chemical companies reemphasizing yield. And some weed control, that probably is our number one negative right now is our weed issues in sorghum. (Jim) What about trade with Cuba? How’s that fit in with sorghum growers? (Clayton) Obviously it’s a really close, really good market. We should be competitive down there. I’m not sure what their use is really. How many bushels it represents. But to be honest, with the high sorghum prices obviously the high bases crisis, Cuba may be priced out for right now. China is… they have a definite need for sorghum and they are making it known. (Jim) Well what about… you’ve said some positives, what are some negatives? You also mentioned some negatives with low commodity prices in general. What are some things that need to be improved on for sorghum? (Clayton) Yea, sorghum has some issues, sorghum does. (Jim) I can think of one. (Clayton) Producers number one concern is weed control. (Jim) Exactly. (Clayton) We do not have very many over the top chemicals. We struggle killing the weeds if they come up with the sorghum. And then number two, there has not been a lot of genetic improvement in sorghum yield and that is an issue. We’re trying. There’s some things in the pipeline. There was some real positive information that came out of the Hays Experiment Station with some improved yields. But those are still two or three years away. They’re not in a “in the bag” form yet for farmers to start to grow. And we’ve got some herbicide things coming down the pike too. (Jim) OK. So, tell me why should a grain sorghum producer be a member of the Grain Sorghum Grower’s Association? I realize you’re a commissioner on the commission side. (Clayton) Listen, every one that is producing grain, regardless of what it is, soybeans, corn or grain sorghum needs to belong to their association. That is your lobbying arm. That is who is representing you that affect your production of grain sorghum on the farm. Everything from the EPA, this Farm Bill lobbying for different aspects of that. Growers need to be represented or regulation will eat you up on the farm. (Jim) Clayton, I really appreciate you taking time with us here this morning. (Clayton) Thank you Jim. (Jim) Thank you. And folks, we’ll be right back with these words from our sponsors.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re in luck because we have Ken McCauley, a Donovan and Brown County farmer and he is on the Corn Grower’s Association and the Corn Commission and we’re here at the Commodity Classic here in Manhattan and I really wanted to kind of get your thought on what’s positive for corn growers right now? I’m thinking negatively cause I’m thinking corn prices, so I want to put a positive spin on this. So, tell me what’s going on that corn growers should be pleased about? (Ken) Well, I think we’ve got a lot of good things to think about in the Farm Bill, there’s a lot of protection there. Right now the farmers are evaluating everything and I really think that there’s a little over thinking going on about too much, too big of a deal. And really I heard yesterday that the state sign up is only 10 percent for Kansas right now, so guys really need to get that out there and get it figured out. And when you look at the protection that’s in this Farm Bill, it’s really good when you talk about if you’re a price minded guy that understands the counter cyclical program that is below a certain price. If you don’t think it will go back up, that’s the way you’re thinking. The other part is the revenue products if you understand crop insurance, you probably understand the ACR. And that to me is where I’m gonna be on the county level because it represents a grip type policy and you can look at that and you can understand that. So, I think farmers really need to get on the ball and start to get into the office and sign up, update you bases and yields. But aside from that, there’s a lot of things out there with the weather patterns, they’re looking better. We don’t know next… this summer what it’s gonna be. But there’s a lot of uses, lower prices spur demand and you know the exports might pick up. We don’t know what’s gonna happen to ethanol, but the other part of that is, when prices drop down people start using more of things. (Jim) Right, right. What about well genetics, corn genetics have just gone off the charts. (Ken) Oh yea. (Jim) I remember 35 years ago when I first came yields in northeast Kansas were well under 100 bushel and here we are some years later and they’re well above. So, kind of talk a little bit about that. (Ken) Well, when you look at that and you say, I started farming in 1971 and we hoped for 100 bushel, and last year’s crop on our farm we averaged 235. And that’s a lot of acres and a lot of high quality, good corn that we got in. The whole harvest was 60 days, which was a long time but that was a lot of bushels. And all the genetics, all the new machinery, all those things have made us more productive and really we are netting more per acre because of those things. (Jim) OK. So, you said some good things here. What are the down sides right now you see for corn or agriculture in Kansas? (Ken) Well, I think everything’s upside down right now on your inputs. We’re and that happens, you understand that too. But we’ve got at least one more year of that and if things get bad enough this year, like yields are low, I think they’ll adjust quicker. But right now things are… it’s too high to put corn in the ground. And if we don’t have 200 bushel yields at $3 dollars or $3.50 it’s a break even deal. (Jim) Right. (Ken) You might as well say we’ve got a $4 dollar break even on any estimate. And I think that’s a big negative. But farmers are still buying anhydrous at $700 dollars a ton and seed reflects if farmer’s don’t buy those things, prices go down. But everybody’s still buying ’em because you’ve just got to have that. (Jim) Tell me, you’re with the Corn Grower’s Association and Commission, tell me why should corn growers in the state be involved with the Corn Grower’s Association? What’s the advantage? (Ken) I think every farmer needs to think about who’s going to represent them at a state and national level and those things are just really important. After being president of the National Corn Grower’s Association, I saw that first hand, that if you’re not there, if you don’t have a good quality… (Jim) Representation? (Ken) Representation in Washington or Kansas you’ll get rolled because we’re a minority in the whole country less and less every year because we can do more and more and it’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that happens. But if you don’t have somebody there looking out for you, no matter what your belief is, you will get rolled and you will not have. (Jim) Goes around basically. (Ken) Yes, right. So, that’s really an important thing, I think organizations are very economical. I mean, everybody should belong. Nationwide, we’ve got about 12 percent, people belong to the National Corn and Kansas Corn Grower’s and that should be 100 percent. Because it’s a cheap deal that really represents very well. (Jim) Ken, I really appreciate you taking this time. Good to see you again too. (Ken) Good to see you. Thanks. (Jim) Folks, stay with us. We’ll be right back after these words.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and with us in this section, we have Gary Robbins, who’s representing the Kansas Soybean Association and Gary and his son Tanner who was in my class a few years ago. But any rate, up in Pott, Jackson County. And I know you grow beans and corn and alfalfa, so tell me some positive things going on right now. I’m thinking some of the negative things like prices coming down a little bit, but we don’t want to go there right now. So, what are some of the positive things that you see going on in Kansas for soybean producers? (Gary) Probably right now like the genetics and stuff are getting better and better all the time. And then they’re coming out with the dicamba tolerant beans. (Jim) Right. (Gary)… which I think we’re on the verge of having those where we will be able to us them this year. And we’re really getting to the point where we need those because I’ve got problems with weed resistance on my farm, like with the water hemp. I’ve got water hemp coming up.. (Jim) Resistant water hemp? (Gary) Yea and I’m starting to get some giant ragweed and they’re even seeing it up north of us getting some giant ragweed around. But you haven’t heard much about that. All of sudden we’re seeing it. (Jim) Right, right. Gary, you mentioned genetics just now. Tell me…expand on that a little bit I’m thinking in my head when I first got here 35 years ago, 40 bushels was a darn good crop and you were telling me earlier what yields you were getting last year. (Gary) Yea, last year we were 50, 60 bushel yields pretty easily across the board. But I’ve, in the last couple three years in some of my better ground, I have seen my yield monitor bump a hundred bushel to the acre. And of course with our yield contest with the Soybean Association… (Jim) Right. (Gary) …this year we had one producer at Clay Center, get 99.8. So, we’re almost hitting that hundred bushel yield around here. And you think it’s gonna be not too much more time and we might see more and more of that 80 bushel yields at least. (Jim) So, that’s a positive. So, with the prices that we’ve had in the recent past, and the high yield this has kind of been maybe a boom for young producers. I’m thinking of Tanner coming back to the farm. (Gary) That’s what I was talking about earlier to you. That it’s kind of nice to see this boom with this farm deal going on that some of these young kids are starting to come in, before it looked like it was so dismal nobody wanted to stick around on the farms, everybody’s wanting to go to the cities. Now, you’re seeing more and more of these kids coming back to the farms. It’s bringing up more competition, but it’s probably a good thing too. (Jim) So, what about trade potential with Cuba? (Gary) Yea, I think the trade potential with Cuba I think is gonna help quite a little bit. I mean it’s not a huge market, but every market we can pick up is gonna help. Anything we can get. (Jim) OK, OK. So, we’ve talked a couple of things on the positive side, there’s some negative things out there as well. So, what do you see wrong there basically? (Gary) Probably what’s gonna hurt the soybean farmer more than anything right now is if this grain price keeps going down and down. And some of it has to do with right now they’ve got that worker’s strike. (Jim) Longshoreman. (Gary) The longshoreman’s strike up in the ports up in Oregon and up in there, which is slowing down, especially the meat export. And the meat people are one of our biggest customers for soybeans. (Jim) Right. (Gary) And of course, a lot of soybeans go to the Pacific northwest too, so that’s kind of putting the hurt on us a little bit right now. So, hopefully they’ll get that resolved before too much longer. (Jim) So, tell me why a grower, a soybean grower in Kansas should belong to the Kansas Soybean Grower’s Association? What’s the positive thing there? (Gary) I think the positive thing, to belong…everybody should belong to any organization that you… anything you raise you should belong to that organization because they’re all out there fighting for your right and trying to protect you from like all these animal activists and the GMO activists. And also we’re trying to get farm bills passed. It’s supposed to be… (Jim) Involved… heavily in the Farm Bill. (Gary) Yea, yea. We’re involved heavily in trying to get farm bills passed, like the biodiesel extender, you know the extender bill and we’ve fought for Section 179 up in Washington trying to get that passed, which we have so far. But we want to get it more where they get more years instead of doing it as a year by year deal. (Jim) OK. (Gary) I’m pretty advocate… think that everybody should be involved because it’s a good deal. (Jim) Gary, I really appreciate you taking time out from the Commodity Classic here and talking with us and sharing your thoughts. So, folks stay with us we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm folks. We have David Schemm with us, who is with the National Association of Wheat Growers, he’s Secretary Treasurer and he’s also a Wallace County Farmer. So, David, you know prices, commodity prices, are kind of whirling around here. And weather is going up and down here. It was bone chilling yesterday and you know 70 today. So, tell me what are some of the positives going on for wheat growers in the state of Kansas, or nationally? (David) Well, you know what’s kind of neat about this year, especially as we get towards the western edge of the state, and I’m even hearing that in other states too as we go on over into Colorado and further north and further south into Oklahoma and Texas, is that they got a nice stand of wheat last fall. You know, it comes down simply to all of our producers out here and it’s nothing greater than to see that nice beautiful wheat crop growing out there. And you know that’s where we did a get a nice stand compared to what we have been in the past. So, just a real positive thing. We’ve got a crop off to a nice start. I know in some areas it did get very cold, you know it was hot, cold and it tends to be a little bit harder on that plant, but we all know that wheat plant has a lot of lives in it to keep coming back. (Jim) Right. So, what are some of the.. you’ve got kind of a current situation going on positive, so what nationally would be a positive for the wheat growers? (David) One of the things that we’re really positive about now is the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership there. And it is moving forward. We’ve got an administration now who’s been very positive about trying to move this forward. We even have a Congress now that’s starting to talk about the fast track authority for the President to be able to move that forward. And so we’re really positive that that’s going to start to help open up markets there with that partnership and make those more available for those wheat producers out there. We’ve got some countries that have joined that partnership late in the game here that you know, we’re still trying to work out the details. But what we’re hearing with the support from the administration and our trade representative hopefully there’s some positive room there. But that’s just a real positive on the national side from there. We’ve gotten.. thankfully we’ve got a Farm Bill passed here this last year and we’ve got it in place. But the challenging part of that is that we’re trying to get it implemented and I know the secretary here, I just discussed yesterday about some of the enrollment numbers, that they’re being very low. From what I’ve seen and experienced out in the countryside there is the Farm Bill programs and sessions are pretty highly attended, producers are trying to find out…(Jim) Understand? (David) Yep, trying to find out. It’s a big thing, there’s a lot of decisions for them to make. You know, some producers have viewed some of those decisions as an opportunity to… positive opportunity to better… get a tool that will work for their operation out there. However, there’s definitely some producers that are concerned that it’s trying to digest what they have and pretty difficult to try to predict what’s gonna happen in the future. (Jim) OK. So, we’ve talked on some positive sides. What are some negatives associated now with just agriculture in general? I’m thinking of a couple. (David) Well, obviously you know one, is the falling commodity prices there. It’s hitting us all. A little bit it gets dismayed when you still a lot of the input prices still staying high. So, obviously those margins are tightening up there for our producers out there. And so that’s a challenge coming from out there. And as I referenced earlier, from a national side there, some of the challenges we are facing is trying to get farmers informed and educated on the Farm Bill, so they know what they are signing up for and understand it. We’re also challenged now with, like I mentioned earlier, low enrollment numbers so that puts a last minute burden, especially on our local offices, to try to get all these farmers through to get signed up. So, we’re definitely concerned there. The other thing I think that is high on radar, is we look at what is going on now and looking into the future, is regulations. We’ve got Waters of the U.S. going on. We’ve got various point spill and environmental runoff. We now have a tie in of conservation compliance with insurance which has gotten a lot of our producers very concerned about being… making sure they’re in compliance and the impact it can have on their operation. So, some big challenges there. It’s these things… it’s so important for people to be a part of the commodities organization. Get involved with your industry out there, because we need to hear that voice. We need to know what’s going on out there so that we can bring those issues back to the Hill, back to D.C. So that they can be aware of it and know how to handle it going into the future. I look at our own organization, National Association of Wheat Growers, we’ve had producers who have dealt with massive challenges. And luckily we have been able to be a part of that role. But one producer got tied up for several years of Farm Program, just because they found a half acre out of compliance on his operation. And he actually got it resolved with the interaction there. So, you know that is some challenge that we’re definitely dealing with now. (Jim) David, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Wheat Grower’s Association and the positives and negatives that we’re facing in the industry. And folks, thank you for being with us as well and don’t forget Friday we’ll be here, same time, same place. See you then.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.