Look Ahead to 2010

January 7, 2010

January 7, 2010

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I can’t believe it but we are already in 2010. We’ve turned the page. We’ve escaped 2009 – not a very good year. What does 2010 look like?

In the nation’s capital, the actions and decisions will be driven by politics. Next fall, we have the mid-term elections with all of the House seats up for election and 1/3 of the Senate. The popularity of the Members of Congress is at an all-time low. They are scared to death. Fear – fear of losing will encourage the candidates to listen to their constituents.

Although the Democrats will probably reconcile the healthcare bill and pass it for the President to sign, that will not be easy. They just want to get it done. It has been a heavy load. They are supposed to turn to the cap and trade legislation next. I don’t think they will do it. It is not popular; they have used up all of their political capital.

Two years ago, immigration was a very hot issue. President Obama said he wanted a comprehensive immigration bill. I don’t think they will do it this year. It is too controversial. The Members of Congress will not want to vote on anything controversial for fear of alienating a voter.

The Congress will likely retroactively extend the death tax this year as it was last year. They failed to get that done in the closing days.

Liberals will want to spend more money hoping to stimulate the economy. Conservatives will point to the massive debt that we are piling up and argue that we shouldn’t spend any more. I think the conservatives win this one.

From the farm gate, look for pigs, cattle, and chickens to have a good year. It’s about time. Grain prices will be volatile, but I think reasonably strong. The world economy is coming back, and don’t forget – exports drive our market. Look back 30 years and the Soviet Union pushed the U.S. grain prices up. Today, it is China.

Petroleum prices are high, and I think they will go higher. That gives the biofuels industry the margin necessary to expand.

I am on the farm in Illinois this week – freezing my buns. Where is global warming when we need it?

I want to close by saying how proud I am of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart gave $20,000 to the Illinois 4-H Foundation. Wal-Mart stands up for rural America, not just in Illinois, but across the land. “Save money – live better.”

I am John Block down on the farm.