November 2013: Farm Bureau News

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Flip through the pages of the latest issue of Farm Bureau News, a bi-monthly newspaper focusing on agricultural issues – from what’s happening around your community to what’s going on at the legislature. Classified ads also make it easy for members to market what they have to sell.

Text of November 2013: Farm Bureau News

  • FARM BUREAU NewsISSN 1062-8983 USPS 538960 Volume 92 Number 6 November 2013

    T E NN E S S E E

    WHATS INSIDE:PagE 2 Tale of Two Farmers

    PagE 6 Vietnam veteran tells his story

    PagE 9-12aITC annual Report

    Farm Bureau NewsT E N N E S S E EOfficial newspaper of Tennessee Farm Bureau

    2013: The Year of the Bumper Corn Crop

    Corn Yields Soar Tennessees corn crop looks to be one of the best in years and many producers are reporting record or near record yields. as harvest continues on the states 880,000 acres planted for grain, USDa projects a record yield of 152 bushels per acre and a record production of 133.7 million bushels.

  • 2 Tennessee Farm Bureau News - November 2013 www.tnfarmbureau.org

    Pettus Read, EditorLee Maddox, Assistant Editor

    Melissa Burniston, Feature WriterStacey Warner, Graphic Designer

    Misty McNeese, Advertising

    P.O. Box 313, Columbia, TN 38402-0313(931) 388-7872

    Issued bi-monthly by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation located at 147 Bear Creek Pike, Columbia, Tennessee 38401. Non-profit periodical postage paid at Columbia, TN and additional entry offices.

    Send address corrections to: Tennessee Farm Bureau News Offices, P.O. Box 313, Columbia, TN 38402-0313.

    Subscription rate for Farm Bureau members (included in dues) $1 per year.

    Advertising Policy: Advertising is subject to publishers approval. Advertisers must assume all liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or product. Publisher does not accept political, dating service or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher pre-screen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Tennessee Farm Bureau News.

    ISSN 1062-8983 USPS 538960

    FARM BUREAU NEwsT E N N E S S E E

    OrganizationBobby Beets

    DirectorBryan Wright

    Associate DirectorPaige Bottoms

    Regional Member Benefits Coordinator

    CommunicationsPettus Read

    DirectorLee Maddox

    Associate DirectorMelissa Burniston Associate Director

    Public PolicyStefan Maupin

    DirectorRyan King

    Associate Director Special Programs

    Charles Curtis Director

    Chris Fleming Associate DirectorKristy Chastine

    Associate DirectorDan Strasser

    Associate Director

    Board of directors Lacy Upchurch Jeff Aiken President Vice President

    Directors-at-Large Charles Hancock David Richesin

    Catherine Via

    District Directors Malcolm Burchfiel Dan Hancock James Haskew David Mitchell Eric Mayberry Jane May

    Advisory Directors Jimmy McAlister Dr. Larry Arrington

    other officers and staffJoe Pearson

    Chief Administrative OfficerRhedona Rose

    Executive Vice President

    Wayne Harris Tim Dodd Treasurer Comptroller

    service companiesTennessee Farmers Insurance Cos.Matthew M. (Sonny) Scoggins, CEO

    Tennessee Rural HealthAnthony Kimbrough, CEO

    Farmers Service, Inc.Tim Dodd, Director of Operations

    Tennessee Livestock Producers, Inc.Darrell Ailshie, Manager

    TENNESSEE FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

    Regional Field Directors Matt Fennel, Jim Bell,

    Melissa Bryant, Eddie Clark, Kevin Hensley, Joe McKinnon

    AFBF tells a tale of two farmers: Harvest, the Farm Bill and political paralysisAutumn in farm country brings with it the roar of combines lumbering across Americas farm fields. Its harvest sea-son and across the land, farmers are hard at work bringing in the bounty of what, in many areas, amounts to a pretty good year. The farm policy landscape, on the other hand, has yielded little, thanks to the frosty bite of American politics.

    Because of congressional inability to reach a consensus, the nations farm bill has expired an occurrence that might have been lost in the hubbub of the larger government shutdown. This is not the first sign of farm bill trouble. It would have expired a year ago had Congress not simply extended it for another year due to disagreements and partisan paralysis.

    Gone with the farm bill is the basic, no-frills safety net for farm families. Gone is the publicly recognized good of government-backed food security for our nation. Gone is the direct link between the people who farm and those Americans who feel the daily pang of hunger.

    Two heartland farmers we spoke with were disap-pointed, even gloomy about these losses. Glenn Brunkow shared that feeling as he steered his combine into the afternoon sun on his farm in Pottawatomie County, Kan.

    I am very, very disappointed that Congress would play political football with something that is as important as our nations farm bill, Brunkow said. Crop insurance as a safety net is important to me and most other farm-ers I know. Without crop insurance, and the promise of crop insurance, farmers cannot secure the operating loans they need to make it through another year.

    Brunkow said without incentives included in the farm bill to purchase crop insurance, the product simply is not affordable for most farmers. He said the difference is $40 to $50 an acre.

    I just cant imagine going through a crop year without having a safety net, Brunkow said. We had adequate rainfall this year, but not enough rain-fall to restore soil moisture. We are just one dry spell away from being in another drought and I cannot imag-ine going into that not knowing that I have crop insurance to help at least pay my fixed costs back.

    We are not talking about mak-ing a profit off of crop insurance. We are talking about just paying our fixed costs our land costs, our seed, our

    fertilizer, our fuel costs, just enough to make it so we can carry on into another year.

    According to Brunkow, crop insurance is keeping some farmers in business this year, helping them weather through one of the worst drought periods since the Dust Bowl. The prospect of that safety net being in place for the next growing season rests at the doorstep of Congress.

    We each need to contact our members of Congress and let them know how important this is, Brunkow said. We need to let them know we rely on and need crop insurance. And it is not just us; its everyone up and down the Main Streets of our rural communities. Our rural communities rely on us. We are the foundation, the

    building block of the rural economy. When we have a good year, Main Street has a good year.

    Meanwhile, about 150 miles north and east of Brunkow, in Atchison County, Mo., Blake Hurst has his com-bines lined up and ready to start the harvest. Like Brunkow, he is living on the edge of drought. Due to drier con-ditions during key growing periods, Hurst believes he is looking at a corn crop that is two-thirds to three-fourths of optimal and a soybean crop that is on the lower side of that range.

    Hurst, who is president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, considers this a drought year, just not quite as severe as the one he and other farmers faced in 2012. However, it is the first time he has faced two consecutive drought years in his 35 years of farming.

    Crop insurance kept everything together last year, Hurst said. Crop insurance was the difference for me between a large loss and a small profit. Crop insurance is extremely important.

    Not knowing whether he will have that key risk management tool head-ing into next year is more than a little disconcerting for the Missouri farmer.

    Its the uncertainty of it, Hurst

    said. I cant really plan on what the crop insurance program might be next year. I dont really know how long it will last. I dont know what will be required of me as far as qualifying for crop insurance and what will be required from me as far as premiums.

    We already have enough uncer-tainty in farming from weather, bad prices, which currently means 45 per-cent lower prices for corn than they were last year. So, I already have uncer-tainty without uncertainty caused by the political situation as well.

    Hurst explained that farmers are constantly living under time con-straints. If they are not able to harvest all their crops before the snow starts to fly in the Midwest, they face the prospect of huge yield losses, which

    drastically impacts the bottom line.

    Its much like Congress with the farm bill expiring, Hurst explained. We know that no matter what hap-pens, we will get our harvest out this year. Congress is a year late in getting its job done on the farm bill. It is expiring now and that is after a one-year extension. And now, even that has expired. Of course, Mother Nature never gives me a one-year extension on harvest. If I dont get it done, I just lose the crop.

    He believes that if members of Congress could feel the same kind of time pressure he experi-ences during harvest, it could possibly make a difference.

    I dont know what the parable is to this story, but if I do not get my harvest done, I dont have any income for the year, Hurst said. If I were to leave 30 percent of my crop in the field because I just dont work hard enough to finish, I lose 30 percent of my income. Members of Congress seem to be able to maintain their income, while leaving well over 30 percent of their work in the field. It wouldnt be a bad idea if we said that if they did not renew bills on time, if they didnt finish a budget, if they didnt finish appropri-ations bills, that maybe they ought to face the same penalties that any small business might face when they do not get their work done.

    Meanwhile, the farm bill has expired, and government has shut down due to partisan politics. Both Hurst and Brunkow are hopeful both situations are settled before they bring in their last bushels and park their combines in their machine sheds. Otherwise, both know that it could be a long, c