Christine's Feed
Jul 13, 2012

Scattered showers move through Iowa but more rain needed

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.

Jul 13, 2012

Cargill buys AFA Foods Fort Worth beef processing plant

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.

Jul 12, 2012

U.S. grain trade wants answers in PFGBest broker scandal

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.

Jul 9, 2012

U.S. Corn Belt heat wave breaks, but this week’s rains light

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

Jul 6, 2012

Weather fears on boil as center of US Corn Belt prays for rain

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
growth stage.

Jun 28, 2012

US drought brings back memories of 1988 crop losses

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.

Jun 21, 2012

Grain shipping in upper US Midwest returning to normal

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.

Jun 20, 2012

Oil lobby biggest threat to U.S. ethanol: RFA leader

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.

Jun 20, 2012

Factbox: U.S. visa types for immigrants: Papers in farmland

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 those 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.

Jun 20, 2012

Midwest farm town, transformed by immigration, thrives

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.

    • About Christine

      "As community editor for Thomson Reuters global on-line chatroom for grains traders and analysts, the Global Ags Forum, I lead chats on the latest factors driving grains and oilseeds markets worldwide, organize chat events with expert industry sources and promote the room to potential market players. Based in Chicago, I also report on U.S. cash and futures grains and oilseeds markets."
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