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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News as heard inside the BARN for March 26th…

Posted by Brian Allmer on March 26, 2013

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

“Latest Ag Confidence Index Shows Less Optimism Among Farmers”

According to the latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index – farmers are less optimistic about the ag economy now than they were after last year’s harvest. While down from December’s index of 109.1 – the index still reflects an overall positive outlook at 106.9. The composite Agriculture Confidence Index accounts for how farmers feel about their present and future situations. A value of 100 is considered neutral. Higher values indicate optimism and values lower than 100 indicate pessimism. When split into different time frames – the assessment of the present situation came in at 135.3 – a strong positive reading. But the expectations farmers have for the year ahead came in at 88.2 – a firmly negative perspective.

The view from agribusiness owners is better than it was after last year’s grain harvest. The overall index value increased from 100.7 to 104.3. Their assessment of the present situation dropped to 112.7 – while their expectations for the future gained 8.4-points – reaching 98.5. The agribusiness composite index is 93.3. While providing a better outlook than after harvest – agribusinesses still aren’t as optimistic as they were one year ago. The Agribusiness Index was 111.1 last year – and expectations for the year ahead were 10 points higher than they are now.

To get the Agriculture Confidence Index – 500 farmers and ranchers across the country were surveyed between March 1st and March 11th. Surveys are conducted before planting, before harvest and after harvest. The agribusiness index is based on responses collected from 100 agribusinesses between February 26th and March 4th. The questions focus on current sales, profitability and overall business prospects.


“Trouble for EU Trade Talks Already?”

The White House formally notified Congress of plans to begin trade talks with the European Union last week – but it appears there could already be trouble. EU leaders don’t want to include their restrictions on genetically modified crops and other regulations that keep U.S. farm products out of Europe in the discussions. President Obama says it’s difficult to imagine an agreement that doesn’t address those issues. That doesn’t necessarily mean the EU would end the restrictions. Some say it would be a victory if the EU clarified opaque rules and set timelines for considering products. But the top EU trade negotiator has signaled they won’t even compromise – stating that a future deal will not change existing legislation. Other European officials say agricultural differences should be discussed after a major trade deal is completed. French President Francois Hollande has called for excluding sensitive issues – including sanitary standards – from the talks. President Obama has suggested that could be a deal-breaker. In a talk with his export council – the President said – there are certain countries whose agricultural sector is very strong, who tended to block at critical junctures the kinds of broad-based trade agreements that would make it a good deal for us. If one of the areas where we’ve got the greatest comparative advantage is cordoned off from an overall trade deal – he continued – it’s very hard to get something going. But the President is optimistic – stating he believes the EU is hungrier for a deal than they have been in the past.


“New Seed Treatment Stewardship Guide Available”

The American Seed Trade Association and CropLife America have developed a new guide to seed treatment stewardship to promote the safe handling and management of treated seed by farmers and others. The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association. It provides farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seed effectively to further minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms. It contains recommendations for planting of treated seed, safe use of seed treatment products, safe handling and transport of seed, selection of treatment products, labeling of treated seeds and storage of traded seed. There is also a seed treatment glossary and an exhaustive list of resources.

National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson says the guide will be an invaluable resource for NCGA members. She says the association is encouraging all corn growers to refer to it before, during and after the corn planting season. The guide is available at seed dash treatment dash guide dot com (


“Farmers Have Big Plans for Corn and Soybeans”

In case you haven’t heard – the latest Farm Futures survey shows U.S. farmers plan to increase production of corn and soybeans this year. The survey found farmers are ready to plant 97.43-million acres of corn. That total – if achieved – would be the most acreage of corn since 1936. Farmers want to plant 79.09-million acres to soybeans. That would mark an all-time record if achieved. More than 1,750 growers were surveyed.


“Group from Iowa Hears Positive News About Future Chinese Imports”

Agri-Pulse reports Chinese demand for agricultural imports is expected to increase dramatically over the next five years. An Iowa delegation met with Chinese leaders last week. According to Zhu Kunming – who runs aquaculture farms and soybean processing – China will import 80-million metric tons of soybeans from all sources in five years. In addition – Zhu told the Iowa delegation China would buy 30-million tons of corn.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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