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Change in technology, economy means change in agriculture

By Staff | Dec 11, 2009

Brian Hoops, president and senior market analyst of Midwest Market Solutions in Yankton, S.D., shows a chart on corn retracement levels during the Farm News Ag Show in the Career Education Building on the campus of Iowa Central Community College Thursday morning.

Times are changing, both economically and technologically, and with those changes comes a new era of farming.

That was the message of both Brian Hoops and Dr. Larry Johnson, featured speakers at Thursday’s Farm News Ag Show at the Career Education Building on the campus of Iowa Central Community College.

“We want to let farmers know that the markets have changed and they need to react and embrace those changes,” said Hoops, president and senior market analyst for Midwest Market Solutions of Yankton, S.D.. “We’re not working with the same commodity markets we’ve had for the past 15 to 20 years.”

Hoops spoke to about 50 farmers Thursday morning on the topics of what drives today’s markets, demand for crops and the keys to getting the most for crops in the upcoming year.

Hoops also touched on exports and how climate can affect how much of an American crop is sent to other nations.

“About 19 to 20 percent of your crops get exported each year,” he said. “Crop problems in South America have helped U.S. crop exports.”

He also reported that soybean crop production is at an all-time high, which can be partially attributed to the demand for soy overseas.

“We’ve produced one of the largest soybean crops in history,” Hoops said. “We’ve had to produce a record crop to meet our demand. Exports are at the most we’ve ever had. We’re using more than we produce, so we always need more for next year. The soybean demand will remain strong because there is nowhere else China can go except the U.S. to buy beans until the South American harvest in March.”

Hoops concluded his presentation with steps to better marketing for 2010, which included finalizing expenses and recognizing trends.

“Know if prices are going to move higher or lower and what actions you will take when these changes occur,” he said.

He also encouraged good marketing plans and risk management as well as diversifying sales and embracing change.

“Change is inevitable,” Hoops said. “Embrace it and learn how to use it and recognize opportunities that come with it.”

Johnson, director of the BioCentury Research Farm at Iowa State University, spoke on changes and research in the biofuels industry that are taking place on the University’s farm west of Ames.

“Our new facility is a mindset change as well as a research facility,” he said. “It’s an integrated processing facility with the purpose of advancing biofuels.”

He said the 1,100-acre farm allows for the growth of a number of different crops that will be processed and will make Iowa a more feedstock-ready state.

“We’re hoping to be able to use a number of different stocks, and develop advanced technology for more efficient cornstarch and oil conversion,” Johnson said. “We want to be the host of some major changes in the future.”

Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or enelson@messengernews.net

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