Farmer fields questions on crop report

Marketplace Staff Aug 12, 2008

Farmer fields questions on crop report

Marketplace Staff Aug 12, 2008


Kai Ryssdal: We had a corn farmer on the program this past spring. Pete Tekampe is his name. He’s got a couple hundred acres of corn and soybeans in Lake County, Illinois, that’s north of Chicago. Back then, he was trying to figure out how to take advantage of what were then record corn prices by selling his crop in advance. Futures, basically. In light of today’s news, we thought we’d get him on the phone to see if his take is the same as the Department of Agriculture’s. Mr. Tekampe, good to talk with you.

Pete Tekampe: Same here.

Ryssdal: How’s your crop, this year, sir?

Tekampe: The crop is just a little better than average. I would say, probably in the 40 years I’ve been farming, it’s in the top 10 percent, but nothing near the top.

Ryssdal: Does the Department of Agriculture seem right to you, based on your own perspective.

Tekampe: Most of the time they are right, but then I just, I can’t understand why all the media that I’m reading and hearing about, they’re not factoring in the acres that won’t be harvested or that were planted and still won’t be harvested. I think there’s too much corn that had to be replanted, too much that was flooded out and too much that didn’t get planted.

Ryssdal: What are you guessing your prices are going to be like, when you finally get your crop to market? Is it gonna do all right for you, or maybe not so much.

Tekampe: Well, I forward sold quite a bit, so the price should be pretty good.

Ryssdal: Forward sold — when we had you on the program back in April, you were hedging some of your bushels.

Tekampe: Right.

Ryssdal: How much of a deal are you gonna make on that? Are you going to do all right?

Tekampe: Yeah, we did about half, so we should be in pretty good shape. Unless the bottom falls out.

Ryssdal: Unless the bottom falls out?

Tekampe: Yeah.

Ryssdal: What might make that happen?

Tekampe: The U.S.D.A. saying that we have so many bushels .

Ryssdal: And then, of course, the price goes down, right.

Tekampe: Right.

Ryssdal: Are you worried at all about what affect these numbers are going to have on the price that you’re eventually going to get.

Tekampe: No, ’cause I think after harvest, you’re going to see it turn around. I’m not going to Vegas this year, I’m putting all my corn in the bin.

Ryssdal: And then what are you going to do?

Tekampe: We’re gonna roll the dice. I’m gonna keep it ’til it goes up.

Ryssdal: Really? You’re just going to hold onto it.

Tekampe: Yep. What I haven’t got sold.

Ryssdal: Yeah, so you presold some, but you’re gonna the rest you’re just going to put in a silo and hang on.

Tekampe: Right.

Ryssdal: Doesn’t that bring its own costs and risks. What if the price goes down?

Tekampe: Well, like I said, I’m not going to Vegas this year.

Ryssdal: Pete Tekampe farms corn and soybeans in Lake County, Illinois. That’s north of Chicago. Mr. Tekampe, thanks for your time.

Tekampe: OK.

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