January 6, 2006
Study condemns U.S. farm policy
The study was conducted by Daniel Sumner, director of the University of California Ag Issues Center and Brazil's economic consultant in the WTO cotton case.
Sumner argued that in order for the U.S. to comply with WTO rules, there must be "major reform of U.S. farm subsidy policy."
He said U.S. farm policy depresses world corn prices by 9 to 10 percent, wheat prices by 6 to 8 percent, and
rice prices by 4 to 6 percent.
Ag exports, imports to set records in 2006
The biggest increase in exports, compared to FY2005, will be in horticultural products. Other increases are
expected in tree nuts, mainly almonds; livestock products, with record pork exports; and cotton.
Dallas Fed: Strong gains for land values
The Dallas Fed's quarterly update found ranchland values rose 3.1 percent across the district, which covers all of Texas and includes northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico. That boost matches the 3.1 percent rise reported in the second quarter. Bankers surveyed also report an 18.2 percent burst in ranchland values district-wide over the past year. That compares to a 10.5 percent surge reported for the prior year.
Ranchland values across Texas, meanwhile, rose 3.1 percent for the quarter and a whopping 21.4 percent for the year. Reflecting the strong recreational demand for ranchland, bankers in the Trans-Pecos and Edwards Plateau report ranchland values rising 2.8 percent in the second quarter and exploding by 36.3 percent the past year. These gains reflect a little cooling in the pace of gains for that region, which sported a 7.5 percent burst in the second quarter.
Gains for dryland cropland continue to be much more subdued, by comparison, reflecting low grain and cotton
prices and soaring fuel costs. Bankers expressed concern about the financial toll high energy costs will take on producers.
USDA offers fuel cost calculator
The energy estimator for tillage will calculate fuel costs for various tillage practices. The tool is located at http://ecat.sc.egov.usda.gov.
All you have to do is enter your zip code and estimated acreage for each crop to be planted. The estimator then
shows fuel estimates for conventional tillage, mulch-till, ridge-till, and no-till on a per acre basis.
`Big 5' firms manage millions of acres
Bank of America, Texas, 2,200,000 acres.
J.P. Morgan, Texas, 1,914,000 acres.
Wells Fargo, Nebraska, 1,329,101 acres.
Farmers National Co., Nebraska, 1,126,888 acres.
Texas Pacific Land Trust, Texas, 987,748 acres.