Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Maybe we are in Kansas, Toto...

Great meeting with the Kansas Soybean Association - and it it's any indicator the Commodity Classic could be a pretty wild affair - as grain grower meetings go. People are talking about staying up past 10:30 PM and everything!!!

Some random thoughts.
  • Kansas is an east-west differential state like the Dakotas (which should be East and West Dakota logically). The weather extremes were fierce last year, but everyone I talked to was looking forward.
  • There is more than a little uneasiness about biodiesel development with beans in the teens. In fact, the numbers we were shown by one speaker were pretty grim, which is why we are only operating less than 50% capacity and new plants are not rushing to completion.
  • I was struck by the concern soybean growers have for the huge cattle industry in Kansas - a concern I feel is well-placed.
  • I signed up several subscribers for my Never-Sell-Anything Marketing Newsletter. In fact, I got into a "you-think-you-made-a-stupid-forward-sale" competition with three other guys. I came in second.
  • I was surprised by the remarks of local Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, a fiscally conservative Democrat (not a huge caucus there) who defended capably her vote against the energy bill. One more reason why party politics are becoming complicated - when a "D" worries about the deficit and the "R" President ignores it. She is cute, too.
  • What??? It's not like hit on her or anything. Jeez...
  • Water issues keep popping wherever I go. I'll be writing about this for sometime.
  • More and more questions about succession and how I was bringing my son back in. Also, "How can I get going in farming?" from younger folks. They may not like all my answers to be strung out in future Top Producer Perspectives.
Gotta board. Once more unto the breach (ORD)...


Anonymous said...


COuld you please provide more detail on why the Kansas soy growers are concerned with the cattle industry?

John Phipps said...


To their credit soybean growers never forget that over 90% of their meal goes through a cow or pig or chicken. Mandated biofuels and the resultant $4+ corn doesn't benefit soy usage for fuel nearly as much as corn.

How much longer cattle feeders can pass along feed increases of this size is something I can't guess. But the cattle guys are expecting steak to get pretty expensive or there won't be as many fed cattle.

The problem is larger, but not as visible in Kansas for swine and poultry. They are likewise keeping an eye on DDGS's as a competitor for meal sales.