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By Staff | Aug 29, 2014

Quadrupled earnings

Smithfield Foods’ second quarter earnings more than quadrupled on increased demand and strong hog prices.

Smithfield said revenue remained flat at $875 million, but operating profits widened from 4 percent to 15 percent as prices rose 30 percent.

Overall, Smithfield reported earnings of $142.9 million, up from $32.4 million a year ago. Sales were up 14 percent to $3.8 billion.

Animal mistreatment

A North Dakota man has been accused and arrested for violating his probation by purchasing a horse.

William Kiefer was found guilty of animal mistreatment when nearly 160 horses were seized from two different locations. When sentenced last year, Kiefer was forbidden from owning any animals.

Earlier this month, the Morton County District Court revoked Kiefer s probation for the parole violation.

Locked in grain bin

A South Dakota man, and his daughter from California, face kidnapping charges after allegedly locking the woman’s husband in a grain bin in Iowa following a domestic dispute.

Craig Olson, of Canton, S.D.; and Oriana Groppetti, of Visalia, Calif.; both are charged in northwestern Iowa’s Lyon County.

Groppetti has pleaded not guilty. A telephone listing for Olson could not immediately be found.

Authorities allege that Olson and his daughter locked Derek Groppetti, of Visalia, in an empty grain bin on July 22.

Groppetti was later taken to another abandoned farm, where he fled on foot to an occupied farm and called for help.

Stealing from Cargill

Cargill Inc. is suing a former high-ranking executive for alleged theft of trade secrets when he left his job for a position at JBS SA, one of Cargill’s biggest meat industry competitors.

Cargill filed the suit against Jason Kuan, a 20-year company veteran, who most recently was managing director for its McDonald’s-related business in Canada.

Kuan “suddenly resigned and left the job without prior notice” on Aug. 1, Cargill said, and took confidential computer files.

Kuan could not be reached for comment. The suit was filed in federal court in Colorado, where JBS USA is based.

Kuan worked in Cargill’s “case ready” meat business, which provides meat to grocers that is ready for customers.

“He had extensive leadership, experience and involvement with both the United States and Canadian case-ready markets,” Cargill said in the


After Kuan left, Cargill said its analysis found he moved “hundreds of highly confidential and proprietary” files to an external hard drive, which he did not return when he left the company, the lawsuit said.

Cargill is asking the court for an injunction against Kuan from revealing any of its trade secrets and confidential information.

The company is also asking for damages, including punitive damages, to be determined at a trial.


Corn closed the week a nickel lower.

Last week, private exporters reported no private export announcements.

Weekly export sales of corn showed new crop sales of 28.3 million bushels.

In the weekly progress report on crop progress, corn is rated 72 percent good-to-excellent, down 1 percent from last week.

Seventy percent is in the dough stage versus 63 percent of the five-year average.

Twenty-two percent of the crop is dented, up from 11 percent last week, but below the 27 percent five-year average.

Corn has rallied back into broken support of $3.79 1/2 which now serves as major resistance.

In the face of a record harvest, this small rally is the best producers can hope for prior to harvest.

The Pro Farmer crop tour is projecting the 2014 U.S. corn crop at a record 14.093 billion bushels with an average yield of 169.3 bpa.

If actual yield results come in larger than trade estimates, look for prices to easily test next major support of $3.25.

Basis at harvest should be extremely wide with nowhere for the product to go, but on the ground in make-shift storage facilities.

Strategy and outlook: Producers are 25 percent sold of the 2014/15 crop and own December puts on 75 percent of the crop.

They should exit puts at $3.25.


Soybeans closed the week 7.75 cents lower from last week.

Last week, private exporters announced sales of 120,000 metric tons of soybeans to China for the 2014/15 marketing year and 110,000 mt of soybeans to Vietnam.

Weekly export sales of soybeans showed new crop sales of 52.2 mb.

In the weekly crop progress report, soybeans showed improvement on the weekly crop progress report at 71 percent good-to-excellent, up from 70 percent last week, which is the best rating since 1995 for this time of year.

Ninety-five percent of the crop is blooming, on par with the five-year average.

Eighty-three percent are setting pods versus the 79 percent of the five-year average.

Without the threat of poor August weather hurting yields, soybean values are starting to slide lower.

In fact, soybeans posted a new low close last week, opening the door for a test of weekly support at $10.22.

If this support is broken, next major weekly support is $8.75.

Demand for old crop supplies remains strong, helping to support futures.

The Pro Farmer tour pegged the 2014 U.S. soybean crop at 3.182 bb, with a national average yield of 45.35 bpa.

Strategy and outlook: Producers are 25 percent sold of 2014/15 production.

Producers own at-the-money puts on 75 percent of the crop.

This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of Midwest Market Solutions and is, or is in the nature of, a solicitation. This material is not a research report prepared by Midwest Market Solution’s Research Department. The risk of loss in trading futures and/or options is substantial and each investor and/or trader must consider whether this is a suitable investment.

Past performance, whether actual or indicated by simulated historical tests of strategies, is not indicative of future results.

Trading advice is based on information taken from trades and statistical services and other sources that Midwest Market Solutions believes are reliable. We do not guarantee that such information is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such.

Brian Hoops can be reached at (605) 660-1155.

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