David's Stories

Most of the questions directed to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue by reporters in a Jan. 29 media conference call had to do with trade issues between the United States and European Union, including so-called sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions imposed by Europe on agricultural products.

  • +3

This is the time of year when farmers are meeting with bankers and ag credit officers to help decide how much corn to plant. While the decision is always a high-stakes one for farmers, trade uncertainty and controversy through 2019 over the U.S. Department of Agriculture corn estimates have …

Two recent studies by the members of the University of Tennessee’s Transportation Institute have estimated devastating consequences of possible lock closures.

The record floods of 2019 left Upper Midwest soils so super-saturated that even a modest increase in winter precipitation and runoff could threaten another record flood season on the Missouri River in 2020.

  • +2

Soybeans are one of the world’s top commodities. But in the race to feed a growing global population, seed developers and ag tech companies are pointing toward a world in which at least some customized, value-added soybeans will no longer be simply a commodity, but will be developed into a range of highly specific, custom-engineered identity-preserved products.

Pioneer Seed is in the midst of marketing 89 new commercial seed products, including corn and soy, carefully winnowed out of 10,000 contenders. They include 44 new soy varieties, which the company says are among the highest yielding ever recorded.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced Dec. 4 the establishment of a new 5G fund that will distribute $9 billion to wireless carriers over a 10-year period to speed the development of a fifth generation wireless network that would, he said, benefit rural America.

Two members of Congress from Minnesota announced Nov. 14 they had secured the release of $100 million in dredging and restoration funds for the Upper Mississippi River to address the after-effects of this spring’s devastating flooding and the resulting higher-than-usual levels of silting. 

While growing risks and uncertainties are squeezing farmers across the spectrum of crops, the farm credit situation is nowhere near as dire as in the 1980s: Farm finance is much more sophisticated and flexible, and crop insurance is much more favorable.

Farmers are nowhere near the depths of the 1980s farm crisis and farm income is actually up—but only thanks to federal payments. Signs of farmer distress are showing up in other figures: investment in equipment is down, farmer debt is up, and so is borrowing against land—both worrying trends.

  • +2

At this writing, the future for United States soybean growers is as uncertain as it’s ever been. At the beginning of September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced its export estimates for soybeans and corn.

The latest report on the importance of waterways released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture August 28, titled Importance of Inland Waterways to U.S. Agriculture, was welcomed by the Waterways Council Inc., as well as the National Grain and Feed Association and other farm groups.

Cementing St. Louis, Missouri’s status as the emerging capital of agricultural technology in the Unites States, agriculture giant Bunge Corporation announced Aug. 13 that it is moving its world headquarters from White Plains, New York, to the St. Louis metropolitan area. The company already …

Since 1995, the InfoAg conference has billed itself as the premier event for precision agriculture. Sponsored by the Fertilizer Institute and supported by dozens of agricultural technology and farm services companies, this year’s InfoAg conference was held at St. Louis’ historic Union Statio…

Journalist Amanda Little’s The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat In A Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World, offers a refreshing, non-ideological and optimistic take on the agricultural challenge of the 21st century: feeding a growing population while reducing the climate impacts of agriculture. The book…

In the wake of a weekend of more flooding in St. Louis in which a downtown pumping station was flooded and several levees were breached, officials of the St. Louis Engineer District and Coast Guard held a press conference to update the public on flood fighting-measures.

Brazilian-based Cool Seed is bringing its experience in chilling stored grains and seeds in grain bins and warehouses to the United States market. Cool Seed’s U.S. sales and operations manager, Eric Henlon, said Cool Seed’s post-harvest storage technology provides significant benefits in con…

“We don’t do a good enough job marketing agriculture. We are better stewards of the land than we have ever been, but we need to do a better job of telling the farming and agriculture story.”

Amid ongoing flooding and high water along most United States river systems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its spring flood outlook March 21, forecasting widespread flooding to continue through May.

In a meeting with High Plains Journal before giving the lunch address at the Nov. 15 Chicago meeting of the Waterways Conference Inc., Stephen Censky, deputy secretary of agriculture, strongly hinted at positive developments to come at the just-concluded Group of 20 meeting in Argentina, dur…