BEARDSTOWN, IL (Reuters) – Two years ago, Bozi Kiekie taught English at a university in the Congo. Although he liked his work, he wasn’t earning enough to make a good life for his family.
So Kiekie, 44, entered a lottery for one of 55,000 annual visas to enter the United States. When he won a so-called diversity visa, he came to Illinois, where he found a job cutting out hog tongues at the meatpacking plant in Beardstown, a small river town about 200 miles southwest of Chicago.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – There are some 185 different types of visas offered by the U.S. State Department. The government approved 7.5 million visas in 2011, with 94 percent for th o se who enter the U.S. on a temporary basis for travel or short-term work. The remaining 6 percent were awarded to immigrants seeking permanent residency.
Immigration experts estimate that at least 12 million immigrants remain undocumented and thus illegal in the United States, including thousands of workers in agriculture and food-related industries.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The complex pursuit of the missing $1.6 billion in segregated customer funds lost by bankrupt broker MF Global could take up to six years to sort out, with full payback to customers unlikely, a top futures industry official said on Tuesday.
“Six years, that’s my personal estimate,” Christine Cochran, an attorney and president of the Commodity Markets Council, told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an industry meeting on MF Global at the CME Group (CME.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) offices.
CHICAGO/WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. futures
regulator is poised to postpone the compliance date of a hotly
debated new rule that the industry says will disrupt brokerage
research and damage customer communications, two people familiar
with the matter said.
The rule, finalized by the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission in February, seeks to establish a firewall between
the research, trading and clearing sides of big futures brokers.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest potential investment in U.S. agriculture can be summed up in a single word: China.
Marubeni’s interest in buying U.S. grains merchant Gavilon to help provide grain to its hungry Asian neighbor would be a quantum leap from the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, Japanese trading houses tried to improve their own country’s food security by obtaining footholds in the U.S. grain supply chain.
CHICAGO, May 15 (Reuters) – U.S. farmland prices soared to
record highs in the first quarter of 2012 fueled by strong crop
prices and buoyant farm income, with the pace of sales strongest
in the Plains but firm also in the Midwest Corn Belt, according
to two Federal Reserve bank surveys released on Tuesday.
The value of nonirrigated cropland in the Plains, which
stretches across big wheat, cattle and corn states, was up 25
percent from a year ago and irrigated farmland prices jumped 32
percent, the Kansas City Fed said.
CHICAGO, May 15 (Reuters) – The price of prime farmland in
the U.S. Midwest grain belt was up 19 percent in the first
quarter compared with a year earlier, boosted by higher
commodity prices and net farm incomes, the Federal Reserve Bank
of Chicago said on Tuesday.
District land values extended their rapid rise at the start
of the year but fell “short of the torrid pace of 2011,” with
prices for good agricultural land up 5 percent in the quarter
compared to the final three months of 2011, the Fed said in its
quarterly survey of 231 bankers in the district.
April 10 (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc
reported a rebound in earnings after its worst quarter
in a decade, led by record profits in its global food ingredient
businesses and stronger results in energy trading.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world’s largest
privately held corporations, reported $766 million in earnings
from continuing operations for the fiscal third quarter ended
Feb. 29, just ahead of $763 million a year earlier.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Many U.S. farmers are waiting for crop insurance coverage to kick in before getting too aggressive in planting corn early, resisting the temptation presented by record warm temperatures this spring, a top agronomist said on Wednesday.
“Monday’s numbers from USDA certainly showed ‘some’ early planting but the dam has not broken yet. The short-term weather forecast is favorable in terms of no expected heavy rains, but a cool off in temps may dampen some spirits,” Robert Nielsen, a state extension corn specialist with Purdue University in Indiana, told Thomson Reuters online ags forum. “Most have been impatiently waiting for the April 6 insurance date before getting too serious about planting corn,” he added. While Indiana farmers had seeded 1 percent of their corn as of Sunday, nationwide farmers had planted 3 percent, matching the earliest start on record since 1999. Some farmers took advantage of summer-like temperatures in March, brushing off crop insurance dates which do not kick in until the first or second week of April — betting on an early harvest so they can meet the world’s demand for corn amid a tight U.S. supply left from the 2011 harvest.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Agribusiness company Cargill Inc CARG.UL is expanding in the corn-based ethanol business despite a sluggish demand outlook for the renewable fuel, the head of the company’s corn milling group said on Thursday.
Alan Willits, president of Cargill Corn Milling, said the company is on track to spend $200 million retrofitting and expanding a corn processing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that will employ 200 and open by the fourth quarter of 2013. “Biofuels have an important role to play as a fuel source in North America,” Willits said in an interview at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit.