Feature

2011 MFA Foundation Scholarships

Written by TF staff on .

Established in 1958, the Foundation is a nonprofit, philanthropic organiza- tion. Its primary purpose is to provide educational opportunities to high school seniors in the MFA trade territory. Since 1965, the Foundation’s
foremost mission has been providing MFA Foundation scholarships, which have provided financial assistance to more than 10,000 students totaling more than $11 million.

One scholarship is offered annually at each high school where a participating MFA Agri Services Center, MFA Oil Company propane plant, MFA Oil Company bulk plant or other MFA agency is located.
Local committees select the scholarship winners, who are announced at gradu- ation ceremonies. The majority of the scholarships are $2,000 and may be used at any college or university.

Overall, this year some 335 high school seniors received scholarships co-sponsored by the MFA Foundation and local MFA locations. These scholar- ships were worth more than $670,000.

Here are this year's MFA Scholarship winners;

Demand pushes farm earnings

Written by Mitch Morehart and Timothy Park on .

When harvest wraps up, the three key U.S. farm sector financial indicators are expected to improve in 2011, a reflection of the crop year and demand for commodities.

Net farm income (a measure of profitability that accounts for inventories and capital consumption), is forecast to reach $94.7 billion in 2011, up nearly 20 percent from the 2010 forecast, and the second highest inflation-adjusted value for net farm income in the past 37 years.

Net value added, USDA’s measure of agriculture’s contribution to the U.S. economy’s production of goods and services, is forecast to rise by $18.4 billion (14.2 percent).

Net cash income (a measure of the ability to pay bills and make payments on debt) mimics these increases and is projected to increase $7.3 billion (8 percent).

Getting there
Crop receipts are expected to rise over 14 percent ($24.1 billion) in 2011, led by sales of corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat. Rising cash receipts for cattle and calves are expected to increase livestock receipts by 3 percent ($4.3 billion) in 2011. Government payments paid directly to producers are expected to total $10.6 billion in 2011, some 12.7 percent less than in 2010.

But income is chased by outlays. Total production expenses are projected to jump $20.2 billion (7.0 percent) in 2011, accelerating from a relatively modest 2 percent increase in 2010.

The increase in cash receipts and expenses will affect crop and livestock farms differently. Even though the principal expenses for each type of farm are going up nearly the same (crop-related expenses should increase around $4.2 billion while livestock-related expenses should increase $4.4 billion), cash receipts are forecast to rise much more for crop producers than for livestock producers. As a result, farm businesses that specialize in the production of cash grains, soybeans, and cotton could see average farm incomes rise over 20 percent in 2011. Farm businesses specializing in livestock production, on the other hand, will likely see lower farm incomes this year, as livestock-related expenses (particularly in feed which represents more than a third of total operating costs) increase more than cash receipts.

With prospects for higher incomes for crop producers, the real (inflation-adjusted) value of farm assets and equity are projected to rebound past 2007 levels. Farm sector assets are expected to rise by 6.1 percent in 2011, while farm debt is forecast to increase by less than 1 percent. As a result, the real value of the farm sector’s equity (assets minus debts) is forecast to exceed $2 trillion for the first time since 1979 and 1980.
 

GPS threatened

Written by Steve Fairchild on .

Earlier this summer, MFA’s Precision Agronomy Manager, Rick Greene, offered comments to the FCC concerning a potential threat to GPS signal from an effort by LightSquared to deploy wireless broadband. The terrestrial-based system would provide internet service across the continent, and the spectrum that LightSquared intends to use has potential to disrupt GPS signal, rendering existing GPS equipment ineffective.

Greene reminded the FCC that the advancement of broadband should not be at the expense of GPS devices used by farmers, emergency responders, aviation, military and other civil engineers that use GPS.

“MFA has over 700,000 acres in GPS-sampled nutrient management, 9.5 million acres covered with RTK correction, and have sold almost $20 million dollars of GPS equipment to farmers that will be directly affected by LightSquared’s project.

“The technology has helped farmers improve their environmental stewardship while gaining economic efficiencies through more precise fertilizer application. ‘Precision agriculture’ will have to grow if America’s farmers are going to meet increasing demands for food while facing pressures to reduce their environmental footprint.”

Greene joined other GPS users, including Garmin, Magellan, John Deere, Caterpillar, CNH, Trimble, AgLeader in asking the FCC to resolve interference issues before granting LightSquared access to public spectrum.

Public comment on the issue closed in July. But the issue is still in play.

As this issue went to press, Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley continued to push the FCC for a clearer picture on what would happen to GPS equipment if LightSquared was given license to populate the spectrum it seeks to use for wireless broadband service. For its part, LightSquared suggests that GPS equipment has been manufactured ignoring certain specifications that would have made it less susceptible to interference from nearby signal.

For a good primer on the subject, visit http://www.gpsworld.com and type “GPS Grassley” in the search box.
Contact your federal congressional representative or senator if you’d like to provide input.
 

Getting the best education for your money

Written by Nancy Jorgensen on .

The economics of ag school

Jessica Roland recently spent four years at the University of Missouri in Columbia, her hometown. MU worked out great for her—she graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in food science and immediately landed a job with Danisco USA Inc., one of the world’s largest food ingredient companies.

Quade Bigler didn’t plan to attend college, but he recently entered his second year at State Fair Community College (SFCC) in Sedalia, where he’s majoring in agriculture. He’s glad he decided to give it a try.

“You can’t get a good job without an education,” said Bigler.

Keep her in condition

Written by TF staff on .

Tracking a cow’s body condition score has become a standard method in judging general breeding soundness. A cow that is too skinny or too fat is prone to more difficulty at breeding, conception and at raising a healthy calf. And, given today’s cattle and feedstuff prices, it’s more important than ever to convert the costs of herd maintenance and your labor into marketable pounds of beef.

Over the years, beef experts have settled on a few times of year that are optimal for checking body condition. These times are significant in the breeding cycle and if you pay close attention, you’ll have time to help cows recover body condition through feeding and sorting. Typically, it’s a 90- to 120-day schedule, with particular scrutiny at 30 days prior to breeding, 90 days post-breeding, weaning, 100 days prior to calving, and calving.

Taking a look at breeding cows multiple times during the year is important because changing an animal’s body condition score takes time. To move up a score, you generally need to add 60 to 80 pounds of body weight on

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