By Mike Carlson, Grain Department Manager
FINALLY, a stretch of sunny, warm, DRY weather. Unfortunately it’s coming too little, too late for a good share of our trade territory. On Monday USDA pegged national corn planting at only 67% well behind the year ago and five year average of 96% for the first of June. South Dakota came in at 44% which feels like a pretty aggressive number given the fact that so many areas have yet to turn a wheel on the corn planter. Soybeans aren’t much better with the country 39% planted versus 79% five year average and South Dakota a whopping 14% versus 82% average. While the South Dakota numbers are what hit home the hardest around here, from a big picture perspective it’s Illinois, Indiana and Ohio progress that is catching the market’s eye as they came in at 45, 31, 33% planted on corn respectively and 32, 18, and 18% on soybeans.
With sluggish progress numbers like these this late in the planting season it should be no surprise that the corn market has reacted accordingly and charged sharply higher with July futures going from a low of $3.43 on May 13th to a high of $4.38 on May 29th. But, as the old saying goes, the cure for high prices is high prices and as of this writing we have seen 25+ cents get taken off the top of corn futures. As is always the case, a combination of things have played in to the recent weakness. As has been a constant for quite some time now, the trade war lingers on and now it’s not just China and the bean story, but Mexico is now in the mix as Mr. Trump is threatening tariffs on Mexican imports which could result in them retaliating by purchasing less U.S. corn. Also, this week, Informa came out with revised planting and yield numbers estimating corn acres down 7.9 million acres from the USDA March report which on the surface seems like it should be supportive corn prices but when much of the market was hearing rumblings of 10 million or more corn acres going prevent plant, seeing the 7.9 million number was actually viewed slightly bearish. Couple all this with improved U.S. weather and the funds decided it was time to take some profit.

It’s during these times of greatest uncertainty that the greatest opportunity is offered. I know this has been the most trying and frustrating spring season most everyone has ever seen but don’t let that freeze you up when it comes to marketing. Whether it’s unsold bushels that are in the bin, a portion of what will get planted this year, or getting started on the 2020 marketing year, give one of our CFC grain originators a call to help formulate a plan to capture this opportunity.
Manager's Comments
By Mark Finck, CEO
A lesson that one of my mentors impressed upon me early in my career was that we would not be able to choose everything that would happen to us, but we do have the ability to choose how we are going to respond to what happens. This spring we have had no control over the amount of precipitation that has fallen. Data from the National Weather Service out of Sioux Falls showed an observed precipitation 6.6 inches for the month of May (surplus of 3.5 inches) and a total of 15.0 inches (surplus of 7.3 inches) for the past 90 days (reports of 90 days precipitation as high as 26 inches in our trade territory). 
The extremely wet spring has delayed planting through most of the CFC/Fremar, LLC trade territory. At the time I am writing this we are projecting less than 10% of the corn planted in our territory through the end of last week. Moving forward from here we will see over the next few weeks what the final planting totals are for our trade territory. 

Our management team will be working to make recommendations with the respective boards as we calculate the impact that the reduced plantings and subsequent harvests will have to the companies over the next 12-15 months. In order to make decisions that are best for CFC/Fremar, LLC we must focus on things that are relevant to our core businesses and customers. Both CFC and Fremar, LLC have strong balance sheets and we will be working to put together a plan that will assist us in navigating the challenges during the next year.

Our company was featured in an article in the latest Farmers Union. Following is a link to the story:  https://issuu.com/sdunionfarmer/docs/may-june_uf

A final reminder for you as you are working extra hours trying to get the crop in is to Be Smart…Be Safe!

Thanks for your patronage. It is appreciated.
Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Agricultural Scholarship offered by Central Farmers Cooperative! 
The following local high school seniors are the 2019 recipients of the $1000 scholarship. Award criteria consisted of scholastic achievement, leadership in agriculture and perceived ability to contribute to agriculture in the future. Each scholarship winner plans to attend a South Dakota post-secondary school and pursue a career in agriculture.

Trevor Benson, Tri-Valley High School
Lincoln Burggraff, Tri-Valley High School
Connor Edelman, Menno High School
Tracy Herrboldt, Scotland High School
Mary Hoiten, Montrose High School
Slayton Neugebauer, Parkston High School
Blake Olson, Parker High School
Ellie Tuschen, Hanson High School