Agriculture Remains in the Doldrums

Prices for key agricultural products have fallen from their peaks in recent years while input costs have not fallen much. Consequently, many farm operations in the Midwest have had lower revenues and thinner profit margins-and even some losses…. Bob Young, chief economist and deputy executive director, American Farm Bureau Federation, illustrated the downturn in agriculture by showing how cash receipts for the crop and livestock subsectors plummeted from their recent peaks (in 2013 & 2014 respectively).

Given that agricultural production expenses decreased more moderately, net farm income for the US dropped in 2014 & 2015, said Young. During those years, values for agricultural assets (incl. real estate, crop inventories and machinery) fell as well. Moreover, there was a substantial slippage in sales of large tractors and self-propelled combines in 2014-12016; as of September 2016 about 60% of farm equipment dealers considered their inventories too high, so a turnaround in sales is not expected anytime soon…

He articulated the view that financial stresses are building for the farm sector as the benefits of the “go-go” years fade…One way to cut costs would be to forego equipment purchases, even though enticing deals on used equipment are likely to be offered…Amid the gloom and doom due to the agricultural downturn that started in 2014, farmers and lenders have faced formidable obstacles to profitability within the sector.

Farmers with the most efficient operations and adequate equity have remained in good standing for credit. Downward trends in the agricultural industry have made for difficult financial conditions that will require cost cutting, innovation and nimble risk management, particularly for vulnerable producers, in order to avoid loan delinquency or even insolvency. In the end, the Midwest, its farming sector and the agricultural lenders serving them should become stronger by making adjustments in response to the downturn (including consolidations of some farm operations and agricultural lending institutions).”

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

The US Department of Commerce Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for December 2016:

  • New orders for manufactured durable goods in December decreased 0.4 percent.
  • Shipments of manufactured durable goods in December, up three of the last four months, increased 1.4 percent.
  • Inventories of manufactured durable goods in December, up five of the last six months, were virtually unchanged.

US Raw Steel Production Pulled Back

US raw steel production pulled back 0.7 percent last week as mills operated at an ACUR of 72.7 percent. In the corresponding week last year mills operated at an ACUR of 71.2 percent. Thus far this year mills have produced prox 9,000,000,000 tons compared to the prox 8,000,000 tons produced in the like period last year.

Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran as a result of their ballistic missile launch last week.

DeVos Confirmed

Betsy DeVos was confirmed as education secretary on Tuesday. It strikes me as funny that so many people, way smarter than I and way more informed, praise Betsy DeVos and what she wants to accomplish for our failing education system, yet the liberals on the left portray her as the devil come to earth.

Rush Limbaugh postulates that the left is in horrible fear of losing the votes and the power the teachers union brings them From an editorial in Wednesday’s WSJ:

Why is Betsy Devos the one nominee Democrats go all out to defeat? The answer is the cold blooded reality of union power and money. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are, along with environmentalists, the most powerful forces in today’s Democrat Party. They elect Democrats, who provide more jobs and money, which they spend to elect more Democrats and so on. To keep this political machine going, they need to maintain their monopoly control over public education…They believe in lifetime tenure and getting paid.”

That does stand to reason. Every volley being thrown at Trump is vomit from a currently disintegrating party (they will be back, hopefully with a pro American platform). They are horrified with the knowledge that his programs WILL work to Make America Great Again and once he gets his cabinet in place and things really start to move, they really will fade away into obscurity-where they belong.

How can you claim to be for the people when you are consistently doing everything you possibly can to thwart the plans of the man who REALLY DOES want to help ALL Americans? They should all be ashamed of themselves. Instead of seizing this opportunity help the USA they choose to do the exact opposite. Why would anyone vote for a political machine like that? The answer is: THOSE THAT DID ARE BLIND TO THE TRUTH AND…WE DID NOT VOTE FOR THAT GARBAGE!

I do not understand all the resistance to the temporary halt to allowing refugees from known terror states to enter our country. It is without question that Federal law grants the president of the United States the power to stop anyone or any group from entering the country. And yet the liberal 9th circuit district court has chosen to challenge the president and the Constitution for POLITICAL reasons.

Remember the balanced scales of the blindfolded Lady Justice? Judging an argument based on the LAW is how their oath directs the judicial to judge written law. They are NOT entitled to interpret the law as they see fit. Are they arguing against our safety? Do they really want to grant travel into the USA without proper vetting? Does this make sense to anyone with a brain and some modicum of common sense? I will say it again, instead of obstructing the good things the President is attempting to do, why not support his pro-safety, pro-growth, pro-USA proposals?

Not much economic news to report this week but as you can tell, I am thoroughly incensed by the behavior of the people in the liberal party. I have never seen such vile hatred for one man and what he is trying to do. I do not see it ending well for the country. Hope I am wrong.

Infrastructure X (Keystone & Dakota pipelines) Regulation Reform XX 1 in 2 out
Individual Tax Reform Entitlement Reform
Business Tax Reform Education Reform XX (Betsy Devos)
Healthcare Reform X rollback begun Veterans Administration Reform
Rebuild our Military Trade Reform X (pulled out of TPP)
Secure our Borders (The Wall) XX Lead the world from the front XX
Help for the poor Drain the swamp X as we speak
Peace through unmatchable strength Support Israel
Destroy ISIS Extreme Vetting XX (started but on hold)
Conservative Supreme Court nominees XX

I will track these goals and will check them off as each is accomplished and I will add those I have missed as they become apparent. This is quite an agenda and will be difficult to achieve all in one term but I believe the American people are behind him and know these things need to be done. Now, if he can get our legislators to support him instead of fighting him….


Have a great weekend…. God bless America!

Buy American made products whenever you can, it’s good for you, good for your friends and neighbors and good for our country.
If you are hiring…try to hire a veteran…. they are loyal, disciplined, hardworking…and they deserve our support.

By the way, if you wish to comment on my rants or offer any other insights you may have, you are encouraged to email me.