Pandemic or PANICdemic?

Pandemic or PANICdemic?

Good Friday greetings to all!
I grew up with the practice of planting potatoes on Good Friday, weather permitting. Growing up in central ND, weather constraints were more frequent than not. Honestly, I don't know the reason for such - perhaps it's due to spuds being a cool season crop. We actually planted most of our spuds last weekend - russets, yukons and fingerling, due in part to my theory related to moon phases, but we needed some reds as well - Norlands are by far the best. So I called the annual source for said seed spuds and they assured me they had plenty on hand - 30 mins later I arrived to by our 5lbs or so and was told they were out. "What?!? Ya, a guy just came in and took all we had left. Oh, how much did you have left? He ordered 40, then they decided they needed another 30 lbs and took all we had...70lbs of seed spuds!" Honestly, can ya eat all the potatoes this amount of seed will produce? Someone will need to find another place to store their toilet paper, as the root cellar will be needed for this year's spud crop...

On a lighter note, I've complained to several about the small suv sized machine sitting in our basement that cost roughly the same when purchased 18 months ago - a long-armed quilting machine. Besides the obvious purpose of quilting, I saw firsthand what else this sewing machine on steroids can do, stitch work for masks. Yes, the ladies (bride, daughters whom are nurses and army pilot) in conjunction with the local quilt store setup an in home sweatshop and made masks. What a labor intensive, tedious process. The long-arm does all the stitching, but each mask must be cut, have the elastic and forming wire installed, folded, pressed and wrapped for distribution and usage. On behalf of the benefactors, thank you ladies.

Agenda, err...Narrative

Are we experiencing a PANdemic or PANICdemic? Events coincidences or orchestrated? Contemplate the following...
When (date) did the China/US trade agreement get announced?
When (date) did China 'announce' covid-19? Yet, the Chinese had 'discovered' cases and a US intelligence report warned of possible crisis two months earlier.
When (date) did the articles of impeachment get issued/signed/delivered? Yet, the articles were approved by the House a month prior.
What was the date of the last Democratic Primary?
When did Biden take the delegate lead in the Democratic primary?
When/why did CBS news use film footage of Italian hospital and claim it was NYC hospital footage?
USS Comfort, NY harbor - +/- 20 patients treated, capacity 1000.
USS Mercy, LA harbor - +/-18 patients treated, capacity 1000.
Why did Speaker Pelosi seek to make changes to voting methods during the phase3 negotiations process - does voting have anything to do with the economic impact of covid-19? Is voting a state run process or DC run process?
"This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision," House Majority Whip Jame Clyburn, D-SC.
Why has the MN health department sent a 7 page 'coaching' document on the completion of a death certificate?
What's the deal with hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug?


Under lock down since late January (76 days) thousands flee Wuhan after CCP lifts lockdown - 55k by train, 970 cars in the first few hours, with such, there are concerns of a 'second wave' of infections. I'm not the brightest bulb in the room tho I'll admit stats was one of my favorite classes at UNL, the Chinese numbers simply don't add up...
China - population of 1.4b, 83k reported cases;
Hubei (Wuhan), population of +11m, 68k reported cases;
Beijing, population +21m, 600 reported cases;
Shanghai, population +24m, fewer cases than Beijing.

Economic Aid

The following data is dated, at the end of last week, SBA had received more than 220k loans totaling more than $66 billion. There is concern that the amount of monies appropriated in phase3 might soon be exhausted ($350b), although another 250b has already been pledged to help ease that concern (fear). Naturally, phase4 is now under negotiations as we speak. Here's a snipit of the $2.2 TRILLION bill from phase3:
Railroads get grants if they recognize unions;
Allow the government to take equity stakes in business;
Expand Fed's authority to include state and local governments as entities it can lend to and buy debt from;
$1 billion for Amtrak;
$10 billion allocated for USPS;
$20 billion education stabilization fund;
$400 million voter funding...

If you haven't yet applied, I would encourage you to do so...JP Morgan has halted all non-government guaranteed small business loans. JPM has received more than 375k applications, for requests exceeding $40 billion of the $350b program.
A podcast released yesterday with Paul Neiffer addressing this program...

Additional monies ($250b) pledged by Sec Mnuchin has hit a snag, bipartisan politics in DC...


Additional aid to producers...

Economic Impact 

An additional 6.6 million filed for unemployment benefits this week, economists suggesting the current unemployment rate at 13%. Expectations are that the economy will turn in the 2nd qtr, with an unemployment rate that may be still at 10% by year end.


What is essential and who's the essential czar? Residents of Vermont are learning firsthand what is and is not - craft items, hand lotion, garden supplies, books & magazines to name but a few items. Vermont state motto is "Freedom and Unity", next door is New Hampshire with "Live free or Die."


US Energy Information Administration sharply lowered expect ethanol production for Q2 and Q3. EIAs prediction is 630k barrels per day for Q2, with an average for 2020 of 820k bpd. This compares to an average of 1.03m bpd in 2019, initially projected 1.04m bpd for 2020. US production fell 330k bpd for the past week to an annual production level of 672k bpd, the lowest level since reporting began in mid-2010. Ending stocks also set a new record of 27.1 million barrels, previous record was 25.7m barrels set last week. This has been touched on the last couple of updates, the situation continues to deteriorate...

A byproduct of ethanol production is CO2, and now the food industry is facing a decrease in supply availability...

Food Supply 

Reports of various plant closings across the country due to virus outbreak among plant workers. This will not cause any short-term impact on won't impact to bountiful supplies, tho widespread plant closures could pose detrimental price impact to livestock producers and interrupt supply chains increasing the price we pay. The fire last fall at a Tyson facility in KS and the corresponding packer bid response was cause for congressional investigation of price gouging of shortage of good news here (sarcasm)
corn processing facility in IA...
facilities in IA, PA, SC and SD...
beef plants in CO and NE...
french fries here in TriCities...


Monthly WASDE report was released earlier today, here's the numbers:
Corn - Increased carryover due to decreased demand and export sales, lowered on farm price to $3.20, down $.40. USDA slow roll with continuing deterioration of ethanol demand, 375mb in this report...2 billion US carry will become burdensome.
Soybeans - lone bright spot with a decrease in carryout due decrease in yields from South America. Resurgence of ASF not yet reflected in monthly report.
Wheat - Small increase in world carryout (China and India). US increase due in part to reduced export sales, soft white stocks were left unchanged. Farm price forecast was raised $.05, to $4.60.

For the week, all commodities finished up with the dollar a wee bit softer.
corn was even; soybeans, $.14; dns, $.09; hrw, $.20; srw, $.12; fats up $5; feeders up $11; hogs up $2.

Dry conditions continue in the Black Sea region of Russia and the Ukraine, only time will tell if this will matter to the markets and by how much French wheat acreage estimate is down vs last year and corresponding EU production estimates. A significant cold front is forecast for the plains, with lows in the upper 20's along the KS/OK border...stay tuned.

Cattle price precipitous decline is under investigation. Now the fire at the Tyson plant is being combined with the covid investigation. Why can't the results of the fire investigation be released first? Two different events - one a supply shock, the other a demand shock...

Crude oil production cuts of 10 million barrels per day has been tentatively agreed to by OPEC, this may or may not be enough. US said to be considering tariffs on imports...

Pulse crops may also see a bump in demand and corresponding prices, hopefully beyond short term...

Lumber prices, in particular framing lumber, have taken a significant tumble of late...


Production Reporting Date 

Additional date leniency and extension was provided by RMA this week for PRD. This will have minimal impact in our region as most report all production in the fall when reporting wheat production. Now, any PRD deadlines between 3/15 and 5/15 have been given an additional 30 days to complete, given the virus distancing guidelines adopted by many regions of the country.


Until next time...stay well and I wish all a blessed and happy Easter.

"People stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
...Winston Churchill