ag conference

SMSU Farm Outlook & Education Seminar Explores Markets, GMOs

Commodity group leaders answer audience questions

Minnesota Soybean CEO Tom Slunecka joined with other commodity groups on a panel Wednesday at the 2016 Southwest Minnesota State University Farm Outlook & Education Seminar in Marshall, Minn.

Slunecka joined Minnesota Pork Board Executive Director David Preisler, Minnesota Corn Senior Public Policy Director Anna Boroff and Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Ashley Kohls to discuss how commodity groups work on behalf of the industry.

“Many of the questions centered on what commodity groups were doing to help stabilize their industry in a down market,” Slunecka said.

Before the panel, Patrick Westhoff, director of Food and Agricultural Policy Research at the University of Missouri (FAPRI-MU), discussed the 2016 market outlook and whether farmers had hit bottom yet.

Westhoff estimated $8.87 beans for the 2016-17 marketing year, which was .30 higher than Wednesday’s USDA prices. He did say that the profit ratio of corn to beans is roughly 2.29, which favors soybeans slightly over last year, when the ratio was 2.34.

 “This is on mark with the 10-year trend line,” Slunecka said. “But with risk factors very high, most farmers I have spoken with are planning to stick with the same soy/corn ratio as last year.”

Slunecka said the real wildcard this year is Argentina.

“If their current tax and tariff programs continue, corn and wheat are more profitable for their farmers to plant, which could reduce the global soy supply. If that happens, we could see an increase in soy prices near the end of this year.”

During the panel, Slunecka said the audience of ag professionals, bankers and farmers had several questions about GMOs and what commodity groups were doing to defend the use of biotechnology.

“The farmers in the audience were younger and passionate about biotech,” Slunecka said. “We encouraged them to contact their elected officials and show their support for biotechnology.”

Are you in favor of using biotechnology on your farms? Take a moment to tell your legislators by simply texting speakup to 52886 or by clicking here. In less than 2 minutes you can send a pre-written letter to your elected officials, or tweet them and post on their Facebook page.