Christine's Feed
Nov 15, 2011

U.S. farmland prices hit record highs on crop demand

KANSAS CITY/CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. farmland prices in the third quarter saw their biggest surge in over three decades in an accelerating agricultural boom that has so far defied fears of a bubble about to burst.

Prices hit record highs in the U.S. Plains, where wheat and cattle dominate production, and jumped 25 percent in the Midwest Corn Belt where bumper grain crops and recovering livestock markets put more money in farmers’ wallets and enticed investors to bid up for the fertile ground, according to two Federal Reserve bank surveys issued on Tuesday.

Nov 12, 2011

Convergence issues still a threat to CBOT grains-study

CHICAGO, Nov 11 (Reuters) – A new study of pricing and
storage problems with Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures
concludes that “fixes” aren’t working and the problems may be a
threat to the long-term health of CBOT grain markets.

“If non-convergence were to persist, there would be
potential for a competing set of futures contracts that
enforces convergence to replace the current CBOT and KCBOT
(Kansas City Board of Trade) contracts,” the study says.

Nov 8, 2011

Farm advisers say MF Global debacle erodes market confidence

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Agricultural bankers and advisers say the bankruptcy of giant futures brokerage MF Global has shaken the farm world’s opinion of futures trading and action must be taken to restore confidence in the system.

Lenders, farmers and farm advisers at the annual meeting of the North American Agricultural Bankers Association here said they were not shocked that a firm like MF Global could run aground trading its own money in volatile world markets.

Oct 24, 2011

Crop scientists now fret about heat not just water

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Crop scientists in the United States, the world’s largest food exporter, are pondering an odd question: could the danger of global warming really be the heat?

For years, as scientists have assembled data on climate change and pointed with concern at melting glaciers and other visible changes in the life-giving water cycle, the impact on seasonal rains and irrigation has worried crop watchers most.

Oct 21, 2011

Illinois harvest steams ahead, farmers store corn

BIG ROCK, Illinois (Reuters) – Steve Ruh, a 42-year-old farmer harvesting some of his 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans 50 miles west of Chicago, says he could not be more pleased with how this year’s harvest is going.

Ruh, sitting inside the high-tech cab of his $250,000 Case International combine, has one eye on the yield monitor and another on the eight rows of corn he is harvesting as he steams through another mile-long stretch of seven-foot high corn stalks one chilly morning this week.

Oct 16, 2011

Women seen key to solving hunger issues in Africa

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Sub-Saharan Africa faces daunting problems staving off famine in coming decades but food and development experts also say one solution to the problem is obvious: empower women.

“They are the major producers of food crops in Africa. If we want to make a real headway on food production, we should be able to invest in women, improve their skills and access to the inputs they require,” said Namanga Ngongi, president, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a top seed producer.

Oct 14, 2011

DuPont CEO says agriculture a “tremendous” opportunity

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 13 (Reuters) – U.S. chemicals giant
DuPont (DD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sees big growth opportunities ahead in its
agricultural sector as the world’s population expands 30
percent and food needs double by 2050.

“As we take a look at the value chains and what is going on
around the world with population growth, we see agriculture as
being a tremendous opportunity,” DuPont Chief Executive Officer
Ellen Kullman told reporters here on Thursday during the World
Food Prize meetings.

Oct 12, 2011

Pace of global farm productivity must increase-Ag group

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Global agricultural
productivity is rising but more effort is needed to meet the
world’s long-term food needs, a group of agribusiness leaders
advised on Wednesday.

“While the new evidence of faster productivity growth for
this year is welcome, it does not alleviate the concern or
urgency about addressing the pace of agricultural development
in parts of the world where much of the population increase
will take place, especially Sub-Saharan Africa,” the group,
called the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), said.

Sep 16, 2011

Insight: CME says wheat converging nicely, but traders scoff

CHICAGO (Reuters) – CME Group (CME.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is celebrating the one-year anniversary of a controversial storage scheme for its benchmark wheat futures contract by saying it has fixed a long-standing problem on futures deliveries.

Traders, however, remain far from convinced.

Arguing that the cure has been worse than the disease, the traders say that by tweaking the century-old contract to artificially engineer “convergence” in the spot or first-delivery month — the critical coming-together of cash and futures prices during futures delivery — CME has drained liquidity and raised risk.

Sep 5, 2011

In the world’s breadbasket, climate change feeds some worry

CHICAGO (Reuters) – It can’t happen here, can it?

The United States, the breadbasket and supplier of last resort for a hungry world, has been such an amazing food producer in the last half-century that most Americans take for granted annual bounteous harvests of grain, meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables and other crops.

When horrific images of drought or famine in Africa, Asia or other regions land in American media, America is usually first in line with food aid shipments, air drops, and other rescue efforts from its seemingly endless stores.

    • 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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