Commodity Classic David Schemm

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm folks. We have David Schemm with us, who is with the National Association of Wheat Growers, he’s Secretary Treasurer and he’s also a Wallace County Farmer. So, David, you know prices, commodity prices, are kind of whirling around here. And weather is going up and down here. It was bone chilling yesterday and you know 70 today. So, tell me what are some of the positives going on for wheat growers in the state of Kansas, or nationally? (David) Well, you know what’s kind of neat about this year, especially as we get towards the western edge of the state, and I’m even hearing that in other states too as we go on over into Colorado and further north and further south into Oklahoma and Texas, is that they got a nice stand of wheat last fall. You know, it comes down simply to all of our producers out here and it’s nothing greater than to see that nice beautiful wheat crop growing out there. And you know that’s where we did a get a nice stand compared to what we have been in the past. So, just a real positive thing. We’ve got a crop off to a nice start. I know in some areas it did get very cold, you know it was hot, cold and it tends to be a little bit harder on that plant, but we all know that wheat plant has a lot of lives in it to keep coming back. (Jim) Right. So, what are some of the.. you’ve got kind of a current situation going on positive, so what nationally would be a positive for the wheat growers? (David) One of the things that we’re really positive about now is the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership there. And it is moving forward. We’ve got an administration now who’s been very positive about trying to move this forward. We even have a Congress now that’s starting to talk about the fast track authority for the President to be able to move that forward. And so we’re really positive that that’s going to start to help open up markets there with that partnership and make those more available for those wheat producers out there. We’ve got some countries that have joined that partnership late in the game here that you know, we’re still trying to work out the details. But what we’re hearing with the support from the administration and our trade representative hopefully there’s some positive room there. But that’s just a real positive on the national side from there. We’ve gotten.. thankfully we’ve got a Farm Bill passed here this last year and we’ve got it in place. But the challenging part of that is that we’re trying to get it implemented and I know the secretary here, I just discussed yesterday about some of the enrollment numbers, that they’re being very low. From what I’ve seen and experienced out in the countryside there is the Farm Bill programs and sessions are pretty highly attended, producers are trying to find out…(Jim) Understand? (David) Yep, trying to find out. It’s a big thing, there’s a lot of decisions for them to make. You know, some producers have viewed some of those decisions as an opportunity to… positive opportunity to better… get a tool that will work for their operation out there. However, there’s definitely some producers that are concerned that it’s trying to digest what they have and pretty difficult to try to predict what’s gonna happen in the future. (Jim) OK. So, we’ve talked on some positive sides. What are some negatives associated now with just agriculture in general? I’m thinking of a couple. (David) Well, obviously you know one, is the falling commodity prices there. It’s hitting us all. A little bit it gets dismayed when you still a lot of the input prices still staying high. So, obviously those margins are tightening up there for our producers out there. And so that’s a challenge coming from out there. And as I referenced earlier, from a national side there, some of the challenges we are facing is trying to get farmers informed and educated on the Farm Bill, so they know what they are signing up for and understand it. We’re also challenged now with, like I mentioned earlier, low enrollment numbers so that puts a last minute burden, especially on our local offices, to try to get all these farmers through to get signed up. So, we’re definitely concerned there. The other thing I think that is high on radar, is we look at what is going on now and looking into the future, is regulations. We’ve got Waters of the U.S. going on. We’ve got various point spill and environmental runoff. We now have a tie in of conservation compliance with insurance which has gotten a lot of our producers very concerned about being… making sure they’re in compliance and the impact it can have on their operation. So, some big challenges there. It’s these things… it’s so important for people to be a part of the commodities organization. Get involved with your industry out there, because we need to hear that voice. We need to know what’s going on out there so that we can bring those issues back to the Hill, back to D.C. So that they can be aware of it and know how to handle it going into the future. I look at our own organization, National Association of Wheat Growers, we’ve had producers who have dealt with massive challenges. And luckily we have been able to be a part of that role. But one producer got tied up for several years of Farm Program, just because they found a half acre out of compliance on his operation. And he actually got it resolved with the interaction there. So, you know that is some challenge that we’re definitely dealing with now. (Jim) David, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Wheat Grower’s Association and the positives and negatives that we’re facing in the industry. And folks, thank you for being with us as well and don’t
forget Friday we’ll be here, same time, same place. See you then.

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