Area Farm & Ag Headlines

New CME Hours


Less than a year after expanding the trading day from 17 to 21 hours per day, CME Group, Inc. reduced hours, after approval by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Beginning April 8, trading hours on the CBOT, KC and MGEX exchanges changed to the following:

  • Sunday-Friday: Electronic Open from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 a.m.
  • Closed: 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • Pit and Electronic Open: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Marcel Smits New Cargill Chief Financial Officer


In a press release yesterday via its home website, Cargill revealed that former Sara Lee execuive, Marcel Smits, is its new chief financial officer, effective as of April 15th.

Smits, a native of the Netherlands, served in a variety of financial management positions for Unilever in Europe, Latin America and Asia throughout the mid-1980s and 1990s, lastly as senior vice president of finance for China. He subsequently served as CFO for two Dutch listed companies, first for Vendex KBB, a retail group, then for KPN, the country’s leading telecommunications service provider. Both Vendex...

USDA Prospective Plantings Report


Less than an hour past the 11:00 a.m. CST release of two of the largest USDA reports, we are seeing the three main grains taking big hits. The following is the USDA summary for prospective plantings:

Corn growers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2013, up slightly from last year and 6 percent higher than in 2011. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1936 when an estimated 102 million acres were planted.

Soybean planted area for 2013 is estimated at 77.1 million acres, down slightly from last...

Smithfield to Break Off Operations?


Smithfield Foods, Inc, the nation's largest hog producer and processor is looking into the possibility of breaking off operations, according to a report by Reuters news service.

This change comes from an appeal of one of Smithfield's largest shareholders, Continental Grain Co., which has a .8 percent stake in Smithfield. Apparently Continental wrote a letter to Smithfield earlier in the month, urging it to change its strategy and structure into three individual companies with the spin of potential higher profits as a result of breaking off hog operations. It was later reported...

Monsanto and Pioneer Enter Licensing Agreement


For those who have been watching the Roundup Ready soybean patent lawsuit issues progress, you may remember last summer when a federal court ruled agriculture giant DuPont and its Pioneer subsidiary infringed on a Monsanto patent, consequently awarding Monsanto $1 billion in damage.

With that, DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto have announced today that they have come to a series of technology licensing agreements. Through these agreements, DuPont Pioneer will be able to offer Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans as early as 2014, and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend glyphosate and dicamba...

$1.7 billion reported in sales (AMPI)


In a press release March 25th, Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) revealed it delivered sales of $1.7 billion and earnings of $9.3 million in 2012, announced leaders of the milk marketing cooperative owned by 2,900 Upper Midwest dairy farmers. Some 350 voting delegates and guests are reviewing the company’s progress during their annual business meeting that concludes tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

AMPI’s core products were the cooperative’s top performers in 2012. Cheese production, which represents 57 percent of total sales, grew by more than 11 million...

MFU Thanks Farmers


Minnesota Farmers Union would like to thank farmers and ranchers for their hard work and dedication in honor of Minnesota Agriculture Week, March 17-23, which was proclaimed by Governor Mark Dayton. The designation is an effort to raise awareness of the positive and important contributions agriculture makes to Minnesota’s economy and its people.

“Farming and ranching is a vital part of Minnesota’s economy,” says Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson, “Farmers and ranchers are the original green energy. I am proud to stand for farmers in return for all they do for us.”...

General Mills Third Quarter in the Green


General Mills Inc.'s (GIS) fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 1.8% as the maker of Cheerios cereal sold more products in its base business, as measured by weight, for the first time in two years, a sign the packaged-food industry is continuing its steady, but, slow improvement.

Excluding acquisitions like Brazilian food company Yoki Alimentos SA, General Mills sales rose 2%, including a one-percentage-point contribution from higher sales volume, a closely watched metric that had been down each quarter since the third quarter of 2011.

The prolonged volume slump came after...

New Regulations for Mille Lacs In Place Soon


Regulations that will limit the harvest of walleye and potentially increase the harvest of northern pike and smallmouth bass will be implemented on Mille Lacs Lake this spring as part of a multi-year effort to rebuild the lake’s legendary walleye population, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

When the walleye season opens May 11, anglers will be able to keep walleye only between 18- and 20-inches or longer than 28 inches. All others must be immediately released. The possession limit is two, with only one longer than 28 inches.

Last year, anglers...

America's Farmers Grow Communities Program Winners


Farmers are making an impact through the Monsanto Fund's America's Farmers Grow Communities. From local FFA chapters and 4-H clubs to fire departments, community centers and schools, over 1,200 rural communities and their deserving organizations are reaping the benefits of the $2,500 awards.To further support counties that have been declared disaster areas by the USDA due to drought, winning farmers in these counties can choose where to direct an additional $2,500 donation based on community needs that surfaced because of the drought.

A big "Thank You" goes out to all farmers who...