Friday, February 25, 2011

UI Wheat Breeder Receives Grant to Study Climate Change on Wheat

A $750,000 project to analyze the water and fertilizer use efficiency of 3,000 wheat and barley lines will occupy University of Idaho wheat breeder Jianli Chen for the next five years at the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center.
The project is part of a $25 million USDA-funded project led by University of California at Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky to develop new varieties of wheat and barley to help farmers prepare for climate change.
Chen’s preliminary research into drought stress supported by the Idaho Wheat Commission helped her to become a key part in the grant to do phenotypic screening for water and nitrogen use efficiency.
According to Chen, Aberdeen is the perfect location because the regions’ rainfall averages 10 inches a year, cereal grain production in southern Idaho relies on irrigation. Simulating drought conditions simply means turning off or reducing the water supply.
She will focus on the holdings of the National Small Grains Collection, which is maintained by the Agricultural Research Service at Aberdeen. The collection holds germplasm gathered by researchers worldwide since about 1897.
The project will be the first effort in the genebank’s history to measure the water and nitrogen efficiency of various wheat and barley lines in the collection.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Net Farm Income Forecast Up Nearly 20 Percent in 2011

Net farm income is forecast to be $94.7 billion in 2011, up $15.7 billion (19.8 percent) from the 2010 forecast, despite a $20-billion jump in production expenses. The 2011 forecast is the second highest inflation-adjusted value for net farm income recorded in the past 35 years. Cash receipts are expected to increase 9.1 percent, with cotton, soybean, wheat, and corn receipts showing the largest gains.

The value of the farm sector's equity (net worth) is forecast to rise 6.8 percent in 2011. The estimated increase in farm sector equity is largely due to an estimated 6.3-percent increase in the value of farm business real estate. Farm asset values are expected to have the largest percentage increase since 2007. With modest increases in debt, inflation-adjusted equity should exceed 2007’s peak levels. The farm business sector's debt-to-asset ratio is expected to decline from 11.3 percent in 2010 to 10.7 percent in 2011, and the debt-to-equity is expected to decline to 12.8 percent in 2010 to 12.0 percent in 2011. This indicates that the farm sector’s solvency position remains strong.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Indemnity Fund Updates

The Commodity Indemnity fund was established in 1989 and the Seed Indemnity Fund in 2002. Both were established as a consequence of financial failures by warehouses, commodity and seed buyers. Producers are encouraged to participate in the program so they can be protected against a warehouse failure. Licensees withhold and remit assessments to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, which administers the program. Producers can sell to an unlicensed business inside or outside the state and do not have to pay in to the fund, but they also are not covered by the fund in such cases.

The current Commodity Indemnity Fund (CIF) balance at the end of January was $8 million dollars. The maximum fund balance set by law is $10 to $12 million. Bonded and licensed warehouses and commodity dealers withhold .002 of gross sales price paid to producers and remit the assessments to the CIF on a quarterly basis. There is also an assessment of a penny per cwt. on commodity withdrawn from storage, due at the time of withdrawal. A committee comprised of 6 producers and 3 industry representatives advises the Director of ISDA concerning the fund.

The Seed Indemnity Fund (SIF) balance was $4 million at the end of January 2011. The maximum fund balance set by law is $10 to $12 million. Bonded and licensed seed buyers withhold .005 of gross sales price paid to producers and remit to the SIF on a quarterly basis. Seed withdrawn from storage is subject to a penny per cwt. assessment due at time of withdrawal. A committee comprised of 7 producers and 2 industry representatives advises the Director of ISDA concerning the fund.
Producers are protected up to two years after sale or transfer of crop against nonpayment for up to 90% of the value of their crop if they sell or store with a licensed buyer. According to Dave Odgen, Warehouse Control program Section Manger, “It is a really inexpensive protection in a very volatile economy.” Producers can verify if a buyer is licensed by checking at
or by calling ISDA’s Warehouse Control at 208-332-8612.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Idaho wheat producers predict stable market amid Egypt unrest

by Justin Corr
Posted on February 4, 2011 at 5:02 PM

IDAHO -- The unrest in Egypt has some people worrying about their crops right here in Idaho, specifically, wheat.

Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat. Meanwhile, Idaho is in the top 10 of states in the union for exporting wheat. So some of that crop that pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the state economy depends on buyers that are right now in the midst of a possible revolution.

That raised concerns with Sam White, chief operating officer of the Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative. He's worried that changes in the Egyptian government could mean an anti-American shift, stopping all U.S. wheat imports into the country.

White told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that, "We want that Egyptian demand, it's a vital part of the market...they buy a lot of wheat from the world, so it's vital they keep buying it."

However, producers in the area we talked to, weren't too worried.

"Given the global nature of Idaho wheat... well, U.S. wheat and Idaho wheat production in general, I think we'll be alright," said Travis Jones, Executive Director of the Idaho Grain Producers Association.

Jones says the demand for U.S. and Idaho wheat around the world remains strong.

"Worldwide, the demand for wheat is high," said Jones. "The supply of other major wheat-producing countries is down, due to weather conditions, mostly. But in Idaho, we're looking really good. In fact, our wheat will be up, or is expected to be up this year. And prices are good. So, there's a lot of optimism with Idaho wheat producers."

Jones believes whoever is in charge after the dust settles in Egypt will need Idaho wheat.

"There's a long history of a relationship there, not only with their government, but with some of their private industry," said Jones. "So we think we can get across those hurdles and keep this high quality Idaho wheat continuing over to the Middle East area."

Another reason local producers are optimistic is the demand there for the specific type of wheat grown here. Soft white wheat is the most popular wheat produced in Idaho. That type is used in flat breads, which are commonly eaten in Egypt.

Idaho produces over 100 million bushels of wheat each year. The state's 2009 wheat crop was valued at $512 million.