Midwest Ag Report
June 20, 2014
Midwest Ag Report
Sweet summertime
Knowledge gained
Researchers continue
Farm income
Succession planning

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Sweet summertime

When I was in school, I couldn't wait for summer. It meant time with friends, on the ball field, in the barn and long summer days with great weather.

 

My kids feel the same way about summer. But summer is also a time to learn. Not the same kind of learning, but in some ways it may be a more important kind of learning.

 

Growing up on a farm has taught me so much and I am blessed to see my children learning the same things. Work ethic, the value of life, responsibility, goal setting and completing the job are all great lessons I learned from farm life. These lessons have helped be throughout my life.

 

My kids show cattle, just as I did growing up. Watching them prepare and work with the cattle in the same barn that I did the same thing really makes me happy. They are learning all the same lessons I did. 

 

The other day I listened in on a discussion between my eight-year-old son and my dad. My dad wanted help cutting thistles. This has always been one of my least favorite jobs. My son also thought it didn't sound fun. I had to add my two cents about it being character building. Even though I know he didn't understand my comment, he does get the chance to build a lot of character on the farm. From pitching manure to cutting thistles and fixing fence to cutting limbs, none of these jobs are fun, but all are necessary. 

 

So whether you are cutting thistles, rinsing calves, riding a horse, driving a hay baler or mowing the lawn, build your life lessons and enjoy the summer.

 

--Jennifer Carrico

 

headlinesTagAg News Headlines
for the
week ending June 20, 2014     
  • Knowledge gained from PEDv can help producers prevent future problems    
  • Researchers continue to search for PEDv answers
  • Farm income, land values soften further           
  • Succession planning is critical for businesses, farms   

Knowledge gained from PEDv can help producers prevent future problems

 

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was confirmed over a year ago in the United States and nearly 50 percent of the herds in the country have had some type of outbreak over the past 13 months.

 

When the initial call was made from an Indiana farm with a health problem, the veterinarians thought it looked like transmissible gastroenteritis, but when the test came back negative for TGE and positive for coronavirus, then more investigation was needed, according to Harry Snelson, communications director for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Snelson described the disease during a recent session at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

"After PEDv was confirmed at this Indiana farm on May 16, the USDA announced on the following day that there were three farms in Iowa affected as well, and actually 31 farms infected by May 18," Snelson said. "So this was very widespread by the time it was identified."

 

Snelson said that unfortunately, the spread couldn't have been stopped because it had already infected so many herds without the producers realizing it.

 

PEDv is an Alpha coronavirus that is spread via a fecal-oral pathogen. The virus causes profuse diarrhea and vomiting and a very big mortality rate in young pigs, but morbidity is lower as the pigs age.

 
(Read more)

Researchers continue to search for PEDv answers

 

The introduction of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus into the United States in May 2013 has caused severe harm to the pork industry, with nearly 7,000 operations affected in 30 states.

 

Lisa Becton, director of swine health and information for the National Pork Board, said the research continues to develop producer resources and containment strategies. Becton spoke during a standing-room-only session at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

"When the virus became a problem last year, the National Pork Board's swine health committee met to help make decisions on what research needed done and what the timeline could be to get results," Becton said. "A strategic task force was also formed with input from the American Association of Swine Practitioners, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, along with state and international associations to see how to best handle this outbreak."

 

The initial research started in June 2013 to determine what the virus looked like, how it affected the hogs, the environmental stability and what kind of diagnostic test would be the best option to determine if the disease was present.

 

In the fall of 2013, sow immunity was a high priority for researchers in order to determine how long immunity lasts and what type of immunity is given to the piglets. Other concerns were risk factors of feed and if the virus is present in feed ingredients.

 

(Read more

 

Farm income, land values soften further

 

Tighter profit margins for crop producers were a drag on Tenth District farm income in the first quarter of 2014 despite improved profitability in the livestock sector. Low corn and soybean prices combined with relatively high input costs tempered farm income and cropland values as spring planting approached.

 

In addition, winter wheat growers were concerned that poor yields would limit profits despite a rally in wheat prices.

 

With lower income, more crop producers borrowed to pay for operating expenses and bankers reported an uptick in carry-over debt compared with last year. In contrast, high cattle and hog prices coupled with lower feed costs improved profit margins for cattle and hog operators, in turn bolstering farm income for the livestock sector and supporting a slight rise in ranchland values.

District bankers reported lower farm income in the first quarter compared with last year, primarily due to tighter profit margins for crop producers. On the cost side, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projections showed that crop input expenses for corn, soybeans and wheat were not expected to moderate from year-ago levels.

 

On the revenue side, despite modest price gains during the first quarter, futures markets suggested corn prices would remain near $5 per bushel and soybean prices would fall from about $15 to $12 per bushel through the year.

 

(Read more)

 

Succession planning is critical for businesses, farms

Family businesses, family farms and large companies all have to consider how to survive through the next generation.

 

Damien McLoughlin, dean of the Michael Smurfit graduate business school in Dublin, Ireland, discussed succession planning during a session of the Alltech Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 19.

 

"Having the right person to take over a business, no matter how big or small it is, is very important," McLoughlin said.

 

He said the value of family firms changing hands in the next 10 to 15 years in China is $611 billion, but in the United States that amount is $11.7 trillion, which makes a succession plan even more important.

 

"There are many traps that can be fallen into during succession planning," McLoughlin said. "The first is neglecting the emotional dimensions of succession. Not everyone will be happy in every situation."

 

The average age for retirement is now 62, which means parents need to be making a succession plan sooner than in the past. Only 20 percent of the children of business and farm owners say their parents view them as ready to take over the business.

 

(Read more)

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