The Buzz

Ethanol free-fall; NRCS EQIP cutoff dates announced.

A year ago, the U.S. Department of Energy made a big splash in handing out grant money to companies studying new, progressive ethanol production systems. Abengoa, Inc. of St. Louis one won of those grants and plans to build a cellulosic ethanol plant near Hugoton. However, in a stunning turn of events, Alico, Inc., of Florida, will not pursue a similar Dept. of Energy grant, plus others issued by the State of Florida, for a plant it was planning to build…

  • The allure of ethanol has fallen so far, so fast, that companies like Alico aren't even accepting free money. What does this say about the state of the industry?...
  • With wheat harvest getting ready to roll in southern Kansas, farmers should expect to pay more for hiring someone to cut their wheat. According to an Associated Press story appearing in the Wichita Eagle last week, this "will be the most costly harvest," according to K-State ag economist Kevin Dhuyvetter, who produces data for U.S. Custom Harvesters…
  • Farmers can expect to pay between $7-10 more per acre for harvest, or about $35 per acre on a 40-bushel per-acre wheat field…
  • Speaking of wheat, the total U.S. wheat stocks at the end of the 2007-08 marketing year are an estimated 256.9 million bushels, or 7 million metric tons – the lowest level in 60 years, according to Kansas Wheat. The U.S. exported more than 1.4 billion bushels of wheat 42% more than in 2006-07…
  • All told, agriculture exports from the U.S. reached a record $108.5 billion in the 2008 fiscal year, $26.5 more than the 2007 total. That's a $30 billion ag trade surplus…
  • Agco and the online auction company, IronPlanet, have launched a partnership that will allow Agco's 1,200 North American dealers and faster method to sell used equipment. The online marketplace, www.ironplanet.com, will allow dealers to dispose of equipment at least every two weeks, according to IronPlanet…
  • More than 370,000 users are registered worldwide on IronPlanet; an average of 14,500 visitors browse through each online auction. In turn, IronPlanet inspectors will have equipment tested by a trained inspector and buyers can take advantage of IronPlanet's IronClad Assurance guarantee program …
  • Kansas' Natural Resources Conservation Service declares that June 20 is the cutoff date for Environmental Quality Incentives Program signup for fiscal year 2008. This includes Ground and Surface Water Conservation and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program offerings…
  • Funding decisions will be made by July 11. Consult your local USDA NRCS office, or conservation district office for details. And remember, limited resource and beginning farmers and ranchers may receive a higher payment rate for structural and vegetative practices through EQIP…
  • Friends and faithful readers, this is my last "The Buzz" column. I'm leaving Kansas Farmer after 13 years, to pursue other job opportunities. There will be a new Kansas Farmer editor named soon; in the meantime, e-mail questions and comments to [email protected]. Thanks for the ride.
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