Farm And Ranch Country Posts

Germany pulled out of the military operation.  Italy accused France of wanting to get the oil contracts with a new Libyan government, Turkey wants everybody to back off, and oh yeah Yemen is falling apart.

British said targeting Gadhafi is OK then backed off along with everybody else.

About half of Yemen’s military just went over to the rebel side, but the elite US trained units that were going after Al Queda in Yemen may now have to fight the rest of the military to protect the dictator who has been helping the west fight the war on terror.  How far can Saudi Arabia let Yemen and Bahrain spiral out of control?

Even Syria is having big time protests.  The news out of Egypt is getting worse, looks like the young rebels are slowly being replaced in the government with older radical religious leaders.

The one policy area I think many pundits and policy makers are neglecting, where do these dictators go if they want to leave their countries?  Gadhafi is a perfect example.  Obama told him he had to leave, but to where?  Oh, and you cannot take any money with you either.  It leaves them no option but to fight to the death.  If we want them to relinquish power we have to give them viable options, or we have to target them for elimination.  and most of them do not want to be eliminated, so they fight on.

I still think the west missed the boat by not actively helping the green revolution in Iran.  Seems to me we want revolution in every middle east country, except the biggest nut jobs in the area.  Iranian leaders must just be licking their chops at what is going on.

A market side note, both Gadhafi and the Iranian leadership have been buying gold for years.  This gives them the ability to finance activities even if other countries put currency controls on them.  And yes they bought much of their gold at lower prices then what it is now.  Gold cannot be tracked and somebody somewhere will always buy it for a profit.  Looks like they were thinking ahead.

So what effect does this have on American agriculture?  Higher input prices caused by higher energy costs.  A possible world wide war that could disrupt modern markets in many ways.  More military spending which makes a farm bill that much harder to pay for.  Wars tend to cause inflation, which will raise interest rates.

I just hope that the US which is still in Iraq, bigger than ever in Afghanistan, does not try to “fight ’em all” at once.  Yes, we have the best military in the world, but how much can we do and still look after North Korea, etc.?  I worry about wearing out our military.

 

 

One big question floating around out in ag-land is, did China Buy Corn?!?!?!?!

I was told that  a foreign division of a multi-national grain company does not have to report a grain sale until the seller decides if the company will load US corn.  So if China bought fall 2011 corn, it does not have to disclose this to USDA until the corn starts to be loaded.

Grain market today acted to me like something was up.

Chinese prices today, soybeans $18.58 and corn $9.23 so they could buy US grains and pay the shipping and still come out ahead.  What do you all think about this.  If true it could change market attitudes in a hurry.  I also wonder how long if true the “secret” can stay “secret”.

Play

What are the 2 most important numbers to the average government worker. 30 and 55, 30 years of service and 55 years of age. Not all government employees are in government Farm And Ranch Countryfor this reason, but just look at Wisconsin. Many start out for lots of reasons, but soon they get caught in what I call the the “golden handcuffs”.

I discuss benefits and work schedules of government employees. Just how good these jobs really are.

I discuss how farmers view the workers in the “county offices” for USDA and how farmers sometimes trust them too much. I also discuss why the first response to a question is usually no not yes. Why government will never function like a private business. I give my opinion on how to make government more efficient. How to get government “under control”.

Last, I discuss what I think the future holds for government employees.

Play

Recorded while in our diesel truck, delivering a heifer to a friend. Trial run for recording in tractor this spring. Farm And Ranch Country Thanks for putting up with the noise.

Muslim Unrest
Protests/revolution in Egypt. Now in Libya, Bahrain, Saudia Arbia,etc. Is Obama going to lose the middle east to radicals much as Carter lost Iran? Where does peace with Israel fit into all this?
Loss of faith by pro-western Arab States in the Middle East. Will oil rich nations look for a new ally, such as China?
Will oil rich nations fund the radicals (buy them off) to leave the current rulers in power?
Why did we not support green revolution in Iran more? Is unrest in Egypt over? If Suez Canal closes oil goes through the roof.
The communist takeover in Russia was not the first revolutionary government there. Is the radical Muslim Brotherhood going to be the eventual leadership in a “new” middle east?
The U.S. cannot fight ’em all. Our military is already committed to major conflicts, Iraq, Afganistan, Korea,etc. We no longer have a 600 ship navy that Ronald Reagan left us with. We are down to a little over 200 ships in the Navy.
Remember lots of this fighting is still based on politics between religious sects.
Sunni/Shiite conflict is an inside Muslim religion war. Has gone on for a thousand years. They really hate and despise each other. Saudis are Sunni and Iran is Shiite. Some in Iran want Iran to become the new Persian Empire.
Where will this end? We need to look at history, not politically correct Social Studies.
Are we witnessing the fall of the US empire and the breakup of the current geo-political matrix?
I also discuss how to survive Chaostan in your ag business.

big wageWell it looks like the markets are breaking big time today.  Yes, the grain markets have been down the last several days.  I believe this was people positioning themselves for the March 10th USDA report.  Nothing new, just a small set back in the markets.  But today may be a different story.

The Tsunami/earthquake in Japan may affect markets long term.  I think we all have been looking for the “outside the box” event that would signal a turn in the markets.  Is this it?  Maybe, maybe not, but, it could be.  I still believe we will have a planting rally this spring and will put the top in then.  It is still very cold and wet around the midwest and the forecasts show no relief in sight?

First my/our concerns have to be with the victims.  This looks bad, very bad.  Fifth largest quake since 1900, ships, cars, people swept away.  Major infrastructure damage.  For farmers and exporters this will cut demand.  Yes people still need to eat, but it means less expensive food and survivial mood for lots of people.  Things will come back quicker than all the experts will perdict, but for now with this type of uncertainty the markets will probably back off for awhile.

This continuation of the break will maybe do major chart damage to the grain markets.  It also changes the fundamentals a little bit (less demand).  Is it the deal breaker in the markets?  I do not know if it is, but it could be.  Who ever thought it would be an eartquake/tsunami?