Franklin County Farm Bureau News

By J. Larry Miller

Pleasant temperatures, low humidity and showers certainly make for good conditions for humans and livestock. Pastures have been better this summer than I have ever seen. The good condition of the cattle is indicative of the plentiful forages as feeder calf weights coming off of cows should be very good. Prices for feeder cattle will make for very good income on cow-calf operations.

Larry Miller, executive director Franklin County Farm Bureau

Larry Miller, executive director Franklin County Farm Bureau

What makes good livestock conditions does not necessarily translate into good conditions for crops.

With lower temperatures, crops are maturing very slowly and harvest will not occur until at least the middle of September. Farmers are gearing up for drying some of the corn artificially which will slow harvest and increase cost. We hope that Jack Frost will be late this year!

Tuesday August 20 the Franklin County Farm Bureau will be conducting their annual Corn Yield Tour of the county.  We are pretty sure that they will find record numbers in the fields this year.  The tour begins at 9 am and everyone will leave the Farm Bureau at that time to spread out and count the “ears” and the kernels.

U of I farm management specialist Gary Schnitkey says there continues to be a movement away from share-rent leases to cash rental arrangements.

While a number of reasons can be given for this switch, he says one of those should not necessarily be higher returns from cash rental arrangements. Since 2006, during a period of relatively high agricultural returns, share rent landlords received higher returns than the average cash rent as reported by NASS.

Share rent landlords had comparable returns to negotiated average cash rents on professionally managed farmland. Of course, many professionally managed acres have higher than average returns, likely following the desires of the owners of that farmland.

Comparison of share-rent returns to cash rents will be of interest in the next several years.

Schnitkey says lower agricultural returns likely will lead to lower cash rents. How fast cash rents will come down is an open question.

Share rent returns will react to the market; hence, share-rent returns will closely follow changes in market conditions. Just as share-rent returns moved up since 2006 as a reflection of higher agricultural returns, they will move down when agricultural returns are lower. This characteristic of share-rental arrangement may be an advantage, as renegotiations of cash rents do not have to occur during times of changing agricultural returns. It also could cause share-rent returns to be below cash rents in a declining agricultural return environment.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday the United States is at risk of losing its position as the preeminent exporter of corn, soybeans and other commodities unless Congress steps up its investment in the country’s aging infrastructure and moves quickly to pass a farm bill.

“We’re in a global marketplace and whatever advantages we have can disappear pretty quickly because other countries have extraordinary opportunities,” Vilsack said in an interview from Brazil where he is meeting with agricultural officials during a week-long trip. “If our Congress and House of Representatives can’t pass a farm bill, the message that sends to the rest of the world is we can be caught.”

Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

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