Production Season

first_imgDue to losses suffered during the last growing season and new tariffs, Georgia farmers are facing a sense of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming production season, according to University of Georgia agricultural economist Adam Rabinowitz.Just four months removed from Hurricane Michael — the devastating October storm that contributed to more than $2 billion in agricultural-related damage — farmers are unsure of how to proceed. Crop insurance does not fully cover those losses.Farmers are also unsettled about the current tariffs and how they will impact commodity prices that are already extremely low.“We had the market facilitation program last year to cover some of those losses that were a result of trade and (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) Sonny Perdue has said he doesn’t want to do that again this year,” said Rabinowitz, an assistant professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “If those tariffs do not get removed, then there’s questions on what’s going to happen in terms of prices and indications are there will not be any other type of government support.”The growing season is just around the corner for Georgia row crop farmers who are trying to figure out what to plant and how much.Corn producers usually begin planting their crop in late March and early April. Rabinowitz believes Georgia’s corn acreage could increase this year depending on the future of soybean exports to China. Prices remain at $4 per bushel, though Rabinowitz believes an increase to $4.50 is likely.Cotton prices are 71 cents per pound, far below the 93 cents per pound farmers received last June. Georgia producers planted 1.45 million acres in 2018, an increase from the 1.28 million acres in 2017. If cotton prices continue to drop, farmers may shift some of those acres to peanuts.However, Rabinowitz believes peanut farmers need to continue to reduce peanut acreage if prices are going to improve. Georgia produced 628,000 acres last year, down from 714,168 acres in 2017. Another 5 to 10 percent reduction in peanut acres would start to move prices favorably for farmers, he said.Peanut prices range between $400 and $430 per ton depending on peanut type.“There’s certainly hope for higher prices, but it doesn’t look like there will be on the row crop side. There may be a little bit of an increase on corn, but the fact that we’re going to see increased acreage in the U.S. just because prices have gone up a little means that, overall, it’s not going to be that impactful,” Rabinowitz said.More discouraging news for farmers is that, while prices remain low, input costs are rising.“We’re seeing some increases on fertilizer costs, machinery, labor, interest rates. They’ve all gone up a little bit,” Rabinowitz said. “Diesel prices have come down, so that certainly helps.”Land values remain stable, with a small decrease on the cost of irrigated land rent. This is good news for farmers who need equity when they apply for this year’s loans.For a copy of this year’s Enterprise Budgets and Crop Comparison Tool put together by Rabinowitz and other economists in the UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, see http://agecon.uga.edu/extension/budgets.html.last_img read more

Dorn Proposes Merging Departments of Economic Development and Housing & Community Affairs

first_imgMONTPELIER, Vt. In a move designed to boost effectiveness and save money, the Douglas administration is proposing to merge the Departments of Economic Development and Housing and Community Affairs.The move would create a single Department of Economic and Community Development according to Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn, whose agency includes both departments as well as the Department of Tourism and Marketing, and the Division for Historic Preservation.This consolidation will result in a more integrated and coordinated effort to retain and expand Vermonts employment opportunities, invest in communities, foster economic vitality and build housing that working Vermonters can afford, Dorn said. In a time of shrinking revenues, state government must use innovation and technology to do more with less.The move will result in the elimination of one commissioners position and accompanying savings, but is not expected to require any additional staffing changes.Dorn also announced that Betsy Bishop, who is currently serving as Governor Jim Douglas Deputy Chief of Staff, will be appointed Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and will lead the initiative to streamline the two departments into one. She replaces Mike Quinn, who stepped down after serving six years in the position.Dorn said Bishops experience in the private sector; familiarity with policy issues; and her relationship with legislators will be crucial in advancing the merger and other critical economic development issues.Betsy will work with me to pass the Governors 7-point economic growth plan in the first 100 days of the legislative session and spearhead our proposal to merge the housing and economic development departments, Dorn said. Her experience will be a valuable asset to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.Bishop has worked for Douglas since his election in 2002, beginning with his transition team and leading his policy and legislative team for six years.Prior to joining the Governors staff, Bishop advocated for businesses in the state, federal and regulatory arenas.Betsys ability to successfully lead and manage many complex issues while working with diverse interests will benefit the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and help to ensure that Vermont acts quickly to pass an economic plan that grows our economy, creates jobs and helps struggling families, Douglas said.last_img read more

On the Blogs: The German Transition

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ChinaDialogue.net:If Angela Merkel is to win another term in Germany’s upcoming election on September 24, then winning the western state of North-Rhine/Westphalia (NRW) will be essential.NRW is the country’s most populous state, making up a fifth of the electorate. It’s also the epicentre of another political tussle: What to do about Germany’s coal sector?The state is the historic heart of Germany’s industry; an industry that is largely powered by coal. NRW sits atop Europe’s biggest lignite coal region, and despite Germany’s rapid adoption of renewables, NRW still generates 75% of its electricity from coal, making it responsible for almost 1% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions.So it’s no surprise that the Rhineland coalfields near Cologne have become a hot spot for climate activists in the past few years. Internationally, Germany is well-known for its Energiewende energy policy, a transition away from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewables. But despite the aggressive push toward renewables, coal remains central to Germany’s power supply. In recent years, electricity production from coal has hardly fallen, unlike in other developed countries such as the UK and US. In fact, lignite coal provided 23% of gross power production in 2016, and hard coal 17%.Some critics argue that coal still dominates Germany’s power generation because the country has chosen to phase-out nuclear power, with the remaining plants to shut by 2022. In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, around a dozen new coal plants opened in Germany.What’s missing from reports about the alleged “German coal renaissance” though is that Germany’s coal surge was part of a Europe-wide trend, and not just a reaction to the nuclear phase-out. Construction of many of the plants started long before the meltdown in Fukushima.German utilities began abandoning coal projects around 2011 for the simple reason that there was no demand for them. By then, it was clear that renewables growth had been underestimated. Investors cancelled two dozen projects. The surge in wind and solar power combined with on-going coal power production led to an oversupply of electricity. As a result, power exports hit a record high by 2016. Almost 8% of electricity generated in Germany last year was used in neighbouring countries.These developments have led to the so-called “Energiewende paradox”: Germany’s rapid development of renewable power has barely dented carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions even though electricity generated from renewables has more than replaced nuclear power.The result is that Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions actually increased in 2016, and are expected to grow even more in 2017.This begs the question: how will Germany kick its coal habit?To get back on track with climate targets, Agora Energiewend is calling for Germany to adopt an emergency “Climate Protection 2020” programme as soon as possible after the federal elections this month.And some utilities are already shutting down old coal plants for economic reasons. The power company STEAG, for instance, will decommission five coal-fired units because of low wholesale electricity prices. Other companies are hoping that a political agreement on phasing-out coal power will be sweetened by financial benefits for those shutting down plants.An EU agreement on stricter pollution standards for existing power plants starting in 2021 will also factor into plans for a phase-out. Notably, the German government voted against these stricter standards.Gerard Wynn from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) estimates that Germany has many gigawatts of coal and lignite generating capacity above the new limits. Owners are facing multiple headwinds: competition with renewables, sluggish power demand growth, and carbon emissions targets. Owners will have to decide whether to retrofit or close their plants. “Utilities may use this opportunity to close or sell certain coal plants before the new standard is implemented in 2021,” he said.Germany’s current government coalition has avoided specific discussion of a coal phase-out. But there are signs that preparations for one are underway.More: Future of Germany’s coal sector hangs on elections On the Blogs: The German Transitionlast_img read more

Who needs you today?

first_imgScott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Details 37SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield The credit union movement was founded on the principle of service.We’ve all heard the phrases:Not for profit, not for charity, but for service.People helping people.The real job of a credit union is to prove, in modest measure, the practicality of the brotherhood of man.Credit union history teaches us that the ideal of service means more than better rates, lower fees, and friendly service. My experience as a credit union employee for more than 25 years, and as a strategic consultant for past seven years, has taught me that credit union service was founded on a little bit more. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”Like the fictional world depicted in Charles Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities,” the world around us is full of hope and despair. It’s a time of the haves and the have-nots; it’s a time of peace and a time of war; it’s a time of prosperity and it’s a time of poverty. While times and the world have changed drastically since the beginning of the credit union movement, the need for meaningful service is higher than ever. There are a lot of people who need financial help today, and that involves more than a lower interest rate, a smile, and a cool mobile app. They need you.Most of us (but not all) get itI talk to a very diverse group of credit union people every single day. It’s what I do. Many of these conversations are focused on why their credit union exists, what makes their credit union uniquely stand out, and how they can remain relevant in a changing world. The most successful conversations (and strategies) are centered on a deeper definition of service. By deeper, I mean these credit union leaders will tell you that they exist to help people who are experiencing financial challenges. They do this by truly listening, then offering good financial advice, flexible products (and underwriting), and second chances. Their teams trip over each other trying to find ways to help those members experiencing the greatest need. They are less judgmental of people and the financial challenges they are faced with, they have empathy, and they spend more time looking at situations from the member’s perspective. I get to work with a host of credit unions strongly engaged in their local communities, taking on tough community and consumer challenges. These leaders are investing (financially and in Human Resources) to help overlooked consumers attain affordable housing, reliable transportation, and micro small-business loans to help create wealth and lift families out of poverty. Ask these credit union folks and they will tell you they have a very strong and clear cause, and it resonates with their people and the communities they serve.They love to share amazing stories of how they helped members through a difficult challenge. Their measurement of success is deeper than earnings, capital, and growth. Examples of what they measure and track include credit migration scores to see how borrowers who had less than prime credit at the time of the loan have improved their overall credit score over time; the number of jobs created (through new micro-business lending); first-time account holders (previously unbanked); the number of first-time homeowners; and the number of consumers they helped achieve citizenship. This list isn’t all encompassing, but it provides good examples of a deeper level of service and impact.I love to talk to these CU people. Whether it’s their boards, management or their staff, these people light up whenever they get the opportunity to tell you about the special services they provide to their membership and their communities. And their stories aren’t one-offs; they happen frequently, and are common themes between branches.Why it mattersThere are a lot of people and communities struggling today. If you take a moment to look closely around you, you will find people who need you. Sick family members, discouraged friends, stressed-out coworkers, and struggling credit-union members. They need someone to notice and help them. Your help – whether it’s a word of comfort or encouragement, removing an obstacle, financial help, advice, or just active listening – could have a meaningful, positive impact. Today, you could make a meaningful difference in someone’s life.From a personal perspective, giving service gives us a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment. I believe there is a difference between fulfillment and happiness. Fulfillment is more important to me, as it’s deeper and more long-lasting than happiness. I’m happy when I get to go fly fishing, but that happiness isn’t long-lasting. However, the fulfillment I receive from helping someone is deeper: I become a better person, and it is long-lasting. We all want to be happier, but I would recommend pursuing those things that provide greater fulfillment and personal growth.From a credit union’s perspective, the more our people help one another, our members and our communities at large, the greater the fulfillment for the individual and the culture. This will lead to a stronger brand, and greater growth and financial results. I believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast: greater growth and financial success will follow a stronger credit union service culture. A helpful culture will make us employers of choice, and we will attract community partners that share our values and purpose.From a credit union movement’s perspective, doubling down on our legacy of selfless service is all that will separate us from the rest of the mainstream financial services. I know that our cooperative structure is different, but I honestly don’t think it matters much to consumers en masse. If I’m like most average consumers, I don’t think the world needs more for-profit banks or “bank light” credit unions. There are plenty available to take care of those who are in good financial shape. My research and experience with best-practice community development credit unions has taught me that there is high need for not-for-profit credit unions that will help people with financial challenges and address real challenges in the communities they serve. I also know that these service models are sustainable, and among the fastest-growing and most profitable. It’s true, credit unions can do very well by doing good.If you haven’t yet done so today, I encourage you to take a moment, look around you, identify someone in need, and go make a positive difference. If you are in leadership, I ask you to take an extra moment to consider your membership and the communities you serve. Who needs your help the most, and how can you marshal the resources needed to make a remarkable difference? Now, get after it.last_img read more

Credit unions set to finalize mergers in 2020

first_imgWhile members are set to vote on 12 proposed credit union mergers in January and February, four credit unions announced this month their members have given the green light for their consolidations to finalize in 2020.The $54.9 million, 3,769-member Southwest Colorado Federal Credit Union in Durango, Colo. will merge into the $1.5 billion Credit Union of Colorado Federal Credit Union in Denver. Founded in 1958, Southwest Colorado employs 10 staff members.The $31.7 million, 8,681-member Health Facilities Credit Union in Florence, S.C. will consolidate with the $1.8 billion South Carolina Federal Credit Union in North Charleston, S.C. Health Facilities FCU was founded in 1977 and employs 14 staff members.  Health Facilities President/CEO Robert Harris will continue in the role as a city executive once the consolidation becomes effective on March 2.The $24 million, 3,247-member Turbine Federal Credit Union in Greenville, S.C. will merge with the $1 billion Self-Help Credit Union in Durham, N.C.  Turbine FCU, which employs eight staff members, was founded in 1976 as the Greenville Gas Turbine Employees FCU to serve General Electric employees. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

China to lift lockdown over virus epicenter Wuhan on April 8

first_imgPresident Xi Jinping has been projecting confidence that his government has stemmed the outbreak in China. On March 10, Xi visited Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, for the first time since the disease emerged. But with the virus is accelerating its spread globally and Europe now reporting more cases than China, the world’s second-largest economy will struggle to resume full activity.China sacrifices a province to save the world from coronavirusChina on Jan. 23 took unprecedented steps to lock down Wuhan and surrounding regions, effectively restricting the movements of 60 million people in Hubei province as infections spun out of control.The measures stopped air and rail travel and restricted those who could leave by car, while harsher measures banned large gatherings and sought to keep residents in their homes. Some critics saw the quarantine as a heavy-handed approach following earlier failures to act quickly enough to stem the spread. As the virus spread globally, other countries including Italy, the Philippines and India have begun nationwide lockdowns. China’s Hubei province said it will allow transportation to resume for the city of Wuhan on April 8, effectively lifting a mass quarantine over the city where the coronavirus first emerged last December.People in Wuhan will be allowed to leave the city and Hubei province, according to a statement on the provincial government’s website Tuesday.The easing of restrictions comes as Hubei reported that new infections dropped to zero on March 19, a dramatic plunge from the height of an epidemic that’s infected more than 80,000 Chinese and killed over 3,200. Though Hubei’s quarantine may have averted hundreds of thousands of cases, according to the World Health Organization, it put coronavirus patients in the province at a much higher mortality rate than other regions. As cases in Hubei multiplied, hospitals were overwhelmed by patients and a dearth of supplies, forcing them to turn away people with other critical illness.Chinese officials have been moving to ease the quarantine in steps as new cases dropped toward zero from a peak of 15,000 a month ago. Hubei last week started allowing some residents in lower-risk areas to leave the province for work. According to local media reports, people have to get a “green code” certification proving they are in good health in order to leave.On the same day as Xi’s visit earlier this month, all patients were discharged from the mobile hospitals in Wuhan, which the government built temporarily to quarantine and treat mild-syndrome patients when the hospitals were overloaded with patients.As China’s virus cases near zero, experts warn of second waveChina still has a long road back to recovery, and there is a risk the highly-infectious pathogen could flare up again. Even as Hubei’s numbers have dwindled to single digits, China is facing another concern as imported cases continue to add to the country’s tally of infections.China’s economy has been hammered by the outbreak and the aggressive containment measures. Troubled companies like HNA Group Co. have required state rescue while China is loosening financing rules liberally to keep its millions of small businesses alive through the crisis.center_img Topics :last_img read more

US bank profits plunge 70% on coronavirus loss provisioning

first_imgThe amount of non-current loans rose 7.3 percent from the previous quarter, the biggest increase since 2010.Despite the setbacks, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said banks had been able to effectively serve clients in the downturn, and were a “source of strength for the economy.”“The FDIC was born out of a crisis, and we now find ourselves in the midst of another unprecedented period,” she told reporters.As many investors cashed out of the stock market, banks saw a $1.2 trillion, or 8.5 percent, spike in deposits from the previous quarter.Loan balances also jumped as companies tapped credit lines with banks, led by a 15.4 percent increase in commercial and industrial loans.The total number of “problem banks” monitored by the FDIC increased for the first time since 2011, growing from 51 to 54 firms in the first quarter.Topics : US bank profits fell by 69.6 percent to US$18.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020 from the year prior as banks felt the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to data from a banking regulator.The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported that “deteriorating economic activity” caused lenders to write off delinquent debt and set aside billions of dollars to guard against future losses. Over half of all banks reported a profit decline, and 7.3 percent of lenders were unprofitable.The new report, the first government survey of the industry since the pandemic shut down large parts of the economy, shows banks set aside $38.8 billion to cover potential loan losses in the future, up nearly 280 percent from the year prior. The amount of loans banks charged off as delinquent was up nearly 15 percent, driven by an 87 percent increase in charge-offs for commercial and industrial loans.last_img read more

No need to panic buy oximeters to detect ‘happy hypoxia’, lung specialist says

first_imgThere is no need for the public to start panic buying pulse oximeters to detect “happy hypoxia”, Persahabatan Hospital lung specialist Erlina Burhan said on Wednesday.Public concerns over an unusual effect of COVID-19 called happy hypoxia – in which patients have dangerously low blood oxygen levels yet show no usual symptoms of the disease – have risen due after it was reported that two patients who died from COVID-19 in Banyumas, Central Java, experienced the symptom. Lung specialist Erlina Burhan said that happy hypoxia, also known as silent hypoxemia, could be checked by examining blood gases analysis through pulse oximeters.“We can check our blood saturation level at home by putting our finger inside the oximeter pulse, ” Erlina said in a talk show hosted by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Wednesday.However, Erlina also reminded the public that not every COVID-19 patient would experience happy hypoxia. “This doesn’t mean that people should buy pulse oximeters the way people were panic buying face masks,” she said. “Pulse oximeters are not necessary for healthy people or asymptomatic cases.”She said that those who experienced happy hypoxia usually suffered from worsening coughs and feelings of fatigue.She explained that people whose blood oxygen levels dropped would usually suffer from difficulty breathing.“However, this doesn’t happen to some COVID-19 patients [who experience happy hypoxia] because of nerve damage, which results in their brain failing to recognize the lack of oxygen,” Erlina said. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

Petr Cech’s gloves are off… to Chelsea by mistake

first_img Cech recently set a new record for the number of clean sheets kept in the Barclays Premier League and will no doubt take his place between the posts when his former club visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. When candidly asked if he would be checking Cech’s new gloves for signs of tampering – be it grease on the palms or loose stitching – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger replied: “He’s big enough to check his own gloves. “I think he has enough gloves. These kind of mistakes can happen. I consider him now as a real Arsenal player who looks to me as if he’s been here forever. “He has adapted so well and integrated to team spirit. This kind of incident is an accident.” The Czech Republic international won four league titles during a trophy-laden spell at Chelsea, which also saw him lift the FA Cup four times and the Champions League in 2012, and now he is playing a large part in Arsenal’s own title bid – with the Gunners top of the league going into the weekend. Press Association Cech, who spent 11 years at Chelsea before completing a move across London to Arsenal in the summer, was expecting a new pair of gloves ahead of the match between the two clubs this weekend. But they were instead delivered to the Blues’ Cobham training base, rather than Arsenal’s London Colney home, although Chelsea did rectify the issue by flagging up the error. center_img Petr Cech’s starring role in Arsenal’s title challenge this term appears to have gone unnoticed by adidas, with the goalkeeper’s new gloves dropped off at Chelsea’s training ground by mistake. last_img read more