Uncertain Times

August 2, 2006

August 2, 2006

I look at my own cornfields. It is a little dry but they still look good. But what will this crop be worth or the next crop? These are uncertain times.

Our farm support program is under relentless attack from the big city press. The Washington Post has called the U.S. Farm Program "scandalously wasteful." The cost of energy has driven up the cost of farm production more than we ever imagined. We don't know where the world trade negotiations will take us. Interest rates continue to add to our cost of operation. And, let us not forget the war and the terrorist threat which keeps us up at night.

In spite of all the worries, there are some favorable developments. We are all guardedly optimistic about the lift on prices as the market demands more ethanol and biodiesel. But even beyond that, a new report prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development offers some hopeful predictions. "Power in agricultural markets is shifting to China, Brazil, India and other developing countries where growing wealth is bolstering global prices for grain and meat. Corn prices to climb 29% in next 4 years. Vegetable oil to rise annually for next 7 years. Rising incomes are changing diets and boosting demand for meat. Beef consumption in developing countries to rise 31% by 2015. Demand for com, wheat and oilseeds will exceed production for at least the next 3 years."

Even with all the uncertainty, a report like this gets me excited about the future.

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I am John Block from Washington .