November 19, 2019
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Firm economics don’t work on the farm
Even ignoring the impact of the current trade dispute with China, we are now in the seventh year of generally declining crop prices. In addition, significant trade adjustment payments and general farm program payments are not enough to stanch the flow of red ink across the financial records of most farm operations today.
As a result, farm bankruptcies are increasing, and farm operator suicides are making the front page of newspapers large and small. Why do we keep experiencing long periods of low crops prices when we have known about this problem for more than 100 years? Why do we keep making the same mistakes in designing agricultural policy when it comes to writing a new farm bill?

Taiwan trade: Indiana delegates meet with soybean leaders, producers
Taiwan Outlook Conference
Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, attended a delegation to Taiwan with the U.S. Soybean Export Council Nov. 14-15. The delegates met with soybean leaders and producers, and attended the Taiwan Outlook Conference. “We’ve had a great trip,” Kettler sad. “It’s been a lot of fun to celebrate 50 years of soybean producers in the U.S. being involved in Taiwan and these markets.

Nature’s tillage tools: Undisturbed soil draws earthworm activity
Frank Gibbs
“If you build it, they will come” is a slight variation from a line in the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams,” but best sums up the value in minimal soil disturbance and earthworms. Farmers can throw the “kitchen sink” at their crops to shoot for high yields, but without soil biological activity and the tillage tools that are earthworms, success won’t be achieved. Soil scientist Frank Gibbs stressed the magnitude of creating an environment for earthworms in his keynote at the National Strip-Tillage Conference.

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