Current Week

Down on the Farm 2018

August 16, 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

I am talking to you on the phone from our farm in Illinois. Our corn and soybeans are beautiful. I picked some ears. Most ears are 18 rows round – some are 16 rows. That is a good sign. Our early corn is starting to dent. I think the corn crop is made. A rain would not help the corn vey much but it sure would be good for the soybeans. The ground is dry. Soybeans could use some moisture to help fill the bean pods. Is this crop better than last year? I think so. 

The fact is – there are lots of good crops across the Midwest. The USDA is telling us that. We are cleaning out our grain bins and getting ready for the new crop. Farmers around here predict an early start at harvest. The hot weather has pushed the crop to dry. Today, we shipped a trailer load of market hogs. They will weigh at least 280 pounds each. They grow to 280 pounds in less than 6 months. I have raised pigs all my life and have never seen the herd health as perfect as ours is today. It is exciting to see the corn, soybeans, and hogs doing so well.

Our markets are another story. We can’t predict with any certainty what prices will look like through harvest and into next year. Most farmers have sold their old crop, but the new crop is of concern now. We have two things that weigh heavy on our prices – record size crop and trade war worries. One positive development is that wheat reserves are down. Russia and Ukraine had a bad crop. Keep in mind that Russia is the number one wheat exporter in the world. The European wheat crop wasn’t very good either. That should help to lift corn prices some.

The trade war talk has pushed prices down also. There is hope that we could reach a deal with Mexico – maybe Canada. That would fix NAFTA and then negotiate a deal with Europe. We need momentum toward resolution. That could give President Trump some leverage in Chinese talks. Unfortunately, I don’t expect a deal with China very soon. The reason is this – Trump is serious in pressing Chinese trade reforms and China is stubborn. I think our farm products will be in demand around the world. Somebody will want my corn, soybeans, and pork. It just might be somebody different this year. The trade dispute is shaking up trading relations. In the end, that might be a good thing, but for now – we worry. 

I went to the Illinois State Fair yesterday. Looking at all of the cattle and hogs reminded me of years ago when I showed my 4-H pigs at the fair.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to www.johnblockreports.com.

Until next week, I am John Block -- down on the farm.

Previous Weeks

This and That 2018

August 13 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Good news – ethanol exports are up 33% so far this year. By year’s end, we should exceed last year’s record of 1.38 billion gallons.

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August 2 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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The current Farm Bill runs out at the end of September. Will we get a new one? If so, when? Thanks to the efforts of Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Democrat…

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This and That July 2018

July 27 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

I’m going to focus on some different issues today. Trade is in the spotlight. We can only encourage the U.S. and the countries that we have challenged – Canada, Mexico, EU,…

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Trump-Putin Summit

July 18 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

President Trump has dominated all the press headlines in recent days. He met with NATO leaders and criticized them for not doing their share to pay for European defense. He is…

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Trump Trumps NATO

July 11 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Before I focus on this week’s subject, I just want to say a few words about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Scott Pruitt led the EPA as President Trump’s…

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Back From China

July 7 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Here are some of my observations after two weeks in China, leading a delegation of 30 farm broadcasters and farm leaders. It is not the China that I visited 40 years ago. That…

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Keep Food Programs at the USDA

June 28 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

The Trump Administration reportedly plans to move up to $110 billion of USDA food assistance programs to a new “welfare” agency…

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Trade and China

June 21 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

I am headed to China this week with 30 farm broadcasters and farm and ranch leaders. We will talk to Ambassador Terry Branstad and other U.S. representatives in our Embassy and…

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China

June 14 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Next week, I am going to China. Last November, I was asked by the National Association of Farm Broadcasters to lead a team of farm broadcasters and ag leaders to visit China. At…

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Issues

June 7 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

It could be announced any time, but we still don’t know. Will the EPA provide a waiver to allow the sale of E15 ethanol blended fuel during the summer? Right now, the sale of…

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