Letters from readers
To the editor:
“Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows.” That should be the headline for Farm News’ article “Bearish shock to corn in August’s WASDE report.” Farmers shouldn’t be depending on the roulette wheel of market “supply and demand” touted by most ag economists and “experts” like DTN’s Todd Hultman. Every farmer I’ve talked to was infuriated by the WASDE report that ignored lousy spring weather and the record number of prevented-planting acres sending corn down the limit of $.25/bushel. Three days after the WASDE report, the DTN/Progressive Farmer 2019 Digital Yield Tour using Gro-Intelligence’s “real-time yield maps, which are generated with satellite imagery, rainfall data, temperature maps and other public data,” projected that corn yields in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio could be 12% to 15% below USDA’s forecasts!
Adding to the bearish news is more corn and soybean acres in the Amazon rain forest, and on former family dairy farms where hay and pasture are plowed up on highly erodible land.
But regardless of bearish or bullish news, how would anyone really know when to sell their crop? I’ve made the “wrong” marketing decisions and cleaned out my bins in August for the lowest prices of the year many times in the 42 years I’ve farmed. If the “experts” really had a handle on how high or how low markets were going, they could speculate their way to become billionaires, but they are as clueless as we are. They are paid to distract us from political decisions that ought to be made in a democratic republic, The United States of America.
The economic theory used to prop up this exploitation of family farmers and destruction of the land is the ideologically based theory of “free markets” that led to the Great Depression and precious top soil being blow away in the Dust Bowl years. Those lessons of history were incorporated into the family farmer friendly policies of Parity in the New Deal farm programs. The New Deal knew that farmers shouldn’t be punished for producing too much, or society shouldn’t risk food shortages by not having reserves. Today’s economic ideology benefits only multinational agribusiness corporations and their vertically integrated livestock companies. We don’t need mouthpieces for those corporations like Secretary Sonny Perdue and former secretaries of agriculture Tom Vilsack and Dan Glickman. We need a real farmer Secretary of Agriculture under a new president like Bernie Sanders.
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