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Articles from 2017 In July


The killing of doctor last week is latest sign of how deadly the opiate crisis has become. Dr. Todd Graham was killed. There's good reasons for physicians to limit opioid prescriptions. There are high addictions in several states. Rural areas seem to be hit especially hard. 

They are out in the field now and on the phone, compiling information for the August Crop Report due on Aug. 10. There's tendency for USDA to underestimate soybean crop. It was under 14 of past 20 years.

There were 15,500 airplane movements during the week at Osk Kosh. Weather was stunning. Reunion of Apollo astronauts too.

JBS Swift plant fully operating after small fire

The JBS Swift pork processing plant located in Butchertown, Ky., is operating as normal after a small fire broke out Saturday morning, according to a company spokesperson.

Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the rendering area of the facility on July 29. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The plant processes 10,000 head per day.

Clemens Food Group leads the way in expanding U.S. shackle space

Clemens Food Group Clemens Food Group new pork processing plant in Coldwater, MI.

After four years of planning and 28 months of construction, Clemens Food Group is on track to process pork Sept. 5 and a ramp-up to one full shift capacity early next year. Gov. Rick Snyder, local and state officials joined the Clemens Food Group on July 29 to celebrate the opening of the new fresh pork processing facility located in Coldwater, Mich. 

“We want to welcome Clemens Food Group, the outstanding things you’re doing and the pride we have in having you be Michiganders now with us,” said Snyder. “So, thank you so much.”

For over two decades, pork produced in Michigan was leaving the state to be processed, explains Doug Clemens, Clemens Food Group CEO. So the company worked with pork producers to bring operations back to Michigan, which is welcome news to the state.

Announced in December of 2014, the 550,000 square-foot fresh pork processing facility will be located at Jonesville Road and Newton Road in Coldwater. It is expected to generate up to $255.7 million in private investment. Additionally, the project is supported by $12.5 million in Michigan Strategic Fund — Community Development Block Grant funds for infrastructure improvements, land acquisition, workforce development and on-the-job training for the new development.

“Today’s ground breaking represents the next chapter beginning for all those involved with this project,” says Clemens. “Bringing multiple generations of family businesses together with this great community is truly something to be celebrated. We are thankful to our producer partners who had this original vision, and appreciate the support of the community leadership and Gray Construction in helping to make it a reality.“

At full capacity, the plant is expected to create more than 800 new jobs and process at least 12,000 hogs per day.


That doctor who was shot and killed by a patient's husband in northern Indiana was very well liked by his patients. He was given online rating of 4.3 out of possible 5 online. Dr. Todd Graham would not prescribe opiate drug for Michael Jarvis' wife's chronic pain. Rural areas of our nation seem to be the hardest hit by opiate drug crisis.

Chipolte Mexican grill chain is the one they love to hate.  Chain went through bunch of food safety problems and those are not stopping. One of worst performing stocks in restaurant industry.

After 64 years, Rev. Keil is retiring from the pulpit. He's also retiring from giving the Friday evening invocation at the Grand Forks' River Cities Speedway on Friday evenings. He's given the prayer before the race for seven years.

Farm Progress America, July 31, 2017

Max Armstrong shares background on the current work to gather information about the 2017 crop and how it is progress. The final information will be released in a USDA report on August. 10.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Willie Vogt/Farm Progress

5 keys to a successful adviser relationship

Getty Images/Adam Berry The front end and the back end of two hogs
A relationship with a good management adviser can help a hog producer navigate which end is up in the market.

A good risk management adviser can be a valuable asset for agriculture producers, especially during volatile markets. As prices and margins swing widely, threatening short-term cash flows and long-term margins, it can be particularly helpful to have a partner who provides objective and sound guidance with your marketing decisions.

If you’ve ever heard a horror story about a farmer who lost big despite working with a risk management consultant, you know that just the fact of having an adviser isn’t a guarantee of a successful outcome. One reason for that is not all risk management consultants are created equal, so you should choose carefully. Who you work with — and how you work with them — will affect whether you achieve your risk management goals. Following are some factors to consider when choosing an adviser, as well as tips for getting the most out of that partnership.

Familiarize over forecast
Some agriculture producers look for consultants who will tell them where prices are going. For proof of that skill, they might ask several consultants for their track records of success beating the open market.

While this comparison may seem logical, it rests on the assumption that all operations should manage their risk in the same way. In reality though, each operation will undoubtedly face a variety of different risks and have different goals. That means there is no single best outcome for all clients, and no single best strategy that is right for all clients, even at the same point in time.

You should ask a prospective consultant about their background, experience and how they work with their clients. The best consultants will base their recommendations on each client’s unique set of circumstances, as well as their insight about market and margin environments.

While we’d all love to have a crystal ball to see into the future, the fact is that no one knows for sure where prices will go, and you should be wary of anyone who claims otherwise.

Keep it simple
Despite extensive knowledge and experience, even very astute consultants can fall short if they don’t convey what they know in a way that you can easily understand. A good consultant will take the time to educate you about the market and margin environment, as well as any strategy they recommend, so you can make a well-informed decision.

Keep in mind that there are multiple ways to achieve the same objective and a strategy doesn’t have to be complicated in order to be effective. A good consultant should not advise you to use any strategy that feels over your head, especially if you are new to managing forward margins. Instead, your consultant should be able to provide straightforward explanations about how a particular strategy works, including its risks and benefits, as well as the various possible alternatives.

In addition, you shouldn’t be left wondering whether or how a recommended strategy will help you reach your goals, or if it is appropriate for a given margin opportunity or the current market environment.

Stick to a plan
A good consultant is able to add value to your risk management and decision-making process in multiple ways, including helping you stay on track. With so much at stake from each of your marketing decisions, fear or other emotions can be difficult to ignore in the heat of the moment, particularly when markets are volatile or margins are declining. By adding perspective, a good consultant can help you see a single dramatic market move in a broader historical context. That can keep you from making emotional decisions to change course or abandon a sound strategy. What’s more, by keeping you focused on your long-term objectives and how your plan will help you achieve them, your consultant can help minimize second-guessing of your decisions after a single year or marketing period.

Make it even better
Although your adviser should be able to provide useful information and insight from the get-go, you should expect the value of that relationship to continue growing. Over time, your consultant should help you deepen your understanding of markets and margin management strategies. While a well-conceived plan should not be scrapped based on a single marketing period or event, savvy consultants will look to fine-tune and improve your plan based on your satisfaction with the outcomes of marketing decisions made over the course of a marketing cycle.

In addition, they should periodically review your plan with you to make sure it accounts for any new priorities that have entered the mix and that it still has you on track to meet your goals, especially if those have changed.

Know your needs
Perhaps the most fundamental requirement for successfully reaching your goals is knowing what you want to achieve. You’ll get your adviser relationship started on the right foot and headed in the best direction if you can identify your biggest challenges and where you need help. Are you looking to gain more control over cash flow and debt levels so you can expand your operation? Do you want to increase the value of your business so you can pass on an appreciated asset to the next generation? Or do you need to demonstrate a sound risk management plan to your lender?

The answers to these questions will determine the right approach to managing forward margins for your operation. That’s why a good consultant will ask you about these matters before recommending any particular strategies. At the same time, you should be open to sharing your past experiences and other details about your operation, such as your financials — including debt load and leverage — as well as your costs of production. That information will go a long way toward helping a consultant understand you and your operation, which in turn will help them determine how they can best add value.

In short, the best adviser relationships are strong partnerships built on trust and the shared goal of helping ensure your operation’s long-term success. If you have questions or would like to discuss how you can get more out of your consultant relationship, call 866-299-9333.

There is a risk of loss in futures and options trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Charlotte FFA

Max Armstrong profiles Charlotte FFA, Charlotte, Mich., a 45 member group. Member Mackenzi Harag shares some work the group does in its down.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Orion Samuelson at or to Max Armstrong at They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online, on Facebook at, on Twitter at

1959 Case 800

Max Armstrong shares the story of a 1959 Case 800 owned by Dave Gentry, Champaign, Ill.

Max's Tractor Shed is a regular feature of This Week in Agribusiness. Max Armstrong shares information about legacy machines, their stories and how they may still be at work today. If you have a tractor you want featured in Max's Tractor Shed, send a high-resolution digital picture, your contact information, and information about the tractor - what makes it special - to

Questions that need answering

Orion Samuelson has some more questions he'd like answered.

Samuelson Sez is a special feature of This Week in Agribusiness where Orion Samuelson shares his insights and perspectives into key issues of the day.

This Week in Agribusiness, July 29, 2017

Part 1

Max Armstrong opens this week's show with a look at how the U.S. rice crop is performing with a report from Jamie Johansen. And Russell Nemetz reports on the barley crop, which is looking good. And Chad Colby reports from the Experimental Aircraft Association show in Oshkosh, where he found an ag connection.

Part 2

In this segment, Max Armstrong talks markets with Brian Basting, Advance Trading, including a look at the weather and its impact on crops. In Samuelson Sez, Orion Samuelson has some more questions he'd like answered. And Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States.

Part 3

Max Armstrong visits with Farm Broadcaster Ken Rahjes,, Elwood, Neb., about issues in that part of the country. And Farm Broadcaster Dave Williams, Pennsylvania Farm Country Radio Network, Honesdale, Penn., shares insight about crops and conditions out East.

Part 4

Max Armstrong opens this segment with a new Freeways to Farms installment in a visit with Justin Martz who shares how he's using Climate Fieldview on the farm. Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Eastern United States. And in Max's Tractor Shed, Max Armstrong shares the story of a 1959 Case 800 owned by Dave Gentry, Champaign, Ill.

Part 5

Max Armstrong continues his market conversation with Brian Basting, Advance Trading.

Part 6

Max Armstrong profiles Charlotte FFA, Charlotte, Mich., a 45 member group. Member Mackenzi Harag shares some work the group does in its down. And Max points out this is the oldest chapter in the state. And Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the week ahead, and offers is four-week forecast.

Part 7

Max Armstrong wraps up this week's show with a report from Delaney Howell who offers a look at what's happening now that the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three farm counties was dismissed.