CHICAGO, July 24 (Reuters) – U.S. crops are taking a beating
in the worst drought since 1988 but most farmers are not
sweating like they did 24 years ago when a drought hit as they
were just starting to recover from a farm depression that
brought down a big slice of the Midwestern economy.
While financial losses from the 2012 drought in the world’s
largest food exporting nation will no doubt top the $40 billion
of losses in 1988 — an inflation-adjusted $78 billion today –
U.S. farmers face this drought in their strongest financial
position in history, buoyed by less debt, record-high grain and
land prices, plus greater production and exports, according to
agriculture bankers, farm managers and economists.
CHICAGO, July 16 (Reuters) – A top Federal Reserve
policymaker said on Monday that while persistently high
unemployment is weighing on the sluggish U.S. economic recovery,
she is not sure monetary policy can put people back to work.
“At this point we have a tremendously accommodative policy
for the economy to begin the process of recovery,” Kansas City
Federal Reserve President Esther George said in introductory
remarks at a conference on agriculture. “Will monetary policy
put people back to work at this point? That’s not clear.”
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Scattered showers moved through the center of the U.S. Midwest crop belt by midday Friday, giving some relief to drought-stressed corn and soybeans, but more was needed to help the struggling crops, agricultural meteorologists said.
“You are seeing a little more rainfall going on now in parts of central and southwestern Iowa,” said Joel Widenor of Commodity Weather Group, noting the amounts were more than had been expected earlier.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc said on Thursday it bought a former AFA Foods Inc ground beef processing plant in Fort Worth, Texas, for $14.1 million, in a move that will add to its already strong position in the U.S. and Canadian consumer market.
Based in King of Prussia, Pa., AFA filed for chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Wilmington, Del., on April 2. Of those assets, Cargill bid only for AFA’s Fort Worth plant. The transaction received court approval on Thursday and the sale is expected to close next week, Minneapolis-based Cargill said in a statement.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The largest U.S. grain trade group was stunned by the latest scandal to hit the futures industry when Iowa-based brokerage PFGBest collapsed after regulators accused the firm of misappropriating customer funds.
“Even though we don’t know at this point the scope of Peregrine’s agricultural customers or their grain customers, it is troubling to have another failure this soon after MF Global at a time when presumably there was enhanced oversight by regulators,” Todd Kemp, vice president of marketing for the National Grain and Feed Association, said.
CHICAGO, July 9 (Reuters) – Sizzling temperatures abated in the U.S. Midwest
Corn Belt over the weekend, but light, scattered rains this week were expected
to miss the areas that need it most, agricultural forecasters said on Monday.
Midday weather updates indicated little to no change for this week’s
forecast, with milder temperatures blanketing the Corn Belt, but rains will be
CHICAGO, July 6 (Reuters) – Fears are rising that grain
crops in the core of the U.S. Corn Belt – the top corn-producing
region in the world – will suffer big losses that are already
causing farmers to plow up fields in other regions of the belt,
agronomists and traders said on F rid ay.
Iowa and Illinois – which produce about a third of all U.S.
corn and soybeans — are threatened by the harshest heat wave in
more than half a century. Blistering temperatures, combined with
little rain, are stressing corn during pollination, the key
CHICAGO, June 28 (Reuters) – Just one year ago Jeff Scates
saw the worst flooding on his southern Illinois farmland since
1937. Today, Scates is watching his corn fields shrivel from the
driest season in 24 years.
“We’ve gone from one extreme to the other, from being
flooded on three-quarters of the farm now to a drought,” said
Scates, 42, who with his family members farms 15,000 acres of
corn, soybeans and other crops along the Kentucky-Indiana border
where the Ohio and Wabash Rivers meet.
CHICAGO, June 21 (Reuters) – Port and rail operations for
grain shipping were beginning to return to normal in the upper
U.S. Midwest on Thursday after heavy rains drenched the region
this week, shippers said.
Major exporter CHS Inc said on Thursday it resumed
grain loading operations at its Superior, Wisconsin terminal, a
day after it halted loadings.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The biggest threat to U.S. ethanol makers, now struggling with negative profit margins, is not high corn prices but possible changes to the renewable fuel policy by Washington legislators, the top ethanol industry executive said on Wednesday.
“This year is tough. Our biggest challenge though is more about Capitol Hill and threats to policy than the markets and threats to profitability,” Bob Dinneen, chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association, told Reuters on-line grain forum.