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Corn+Soybean Digest

What Are You Worried About?

Everyone worries. It's normal. Trying not to let those worries turn negative or destructive is the challenge.

If you worked for Chrysler or General Electric, your biggest worry would be whether you'll keep your job. Period.

For soybean growers, the overriding worry is prices. Frankly, that's probably always going to top the list. In a recent survey of 1,003 producers by the United Soybean Board (USB), 47% of you ranked it first.

The impact of foreign competition, like Brazil, came in second at 18%. In fact, 73% of soybean growers believe that if, indeed, Brazil surpasses the U.S. in growing soybeans, it will have a major impact on prices.

Twenty-three percent of those surveyed, however, don't believe an increase in Brazil's production will have any impact on prices here in the U.S.

In this issue our Trends Editor, David Kohl, takes you for a spin around the world by scouting what geographic regions you should be most concerned about. The good news is that he's convinced North America will confidently continue to lead the competitive pack. The South American powerhouse, while coming on strong, is held back by a need for more political and financial stability.

The rest of the story, including his five-star rating system, can be found in “The Global Playing Field,” on pages 8-10.

Other USB data show 11% of respondents listed overproduction of soybeans as their next worry, followed by low loan prices (10%), biotechnology issues (9%) and government interference (6%).

With all the press coverage of biotechnology, still only 15% of respondents feel well-informed. Fifty-six percent feel only somewhat informed; 29% don't feel very informed or informed at all.

A bigger concern, for 61% of respondents, is the worry that the European biotechnology controversy will be repeated in the U.S.

These stats, while only a pulse of what's on farmers' minds, do help identify some of their concerns.

That's important, says Eddie Mahe, strategic business consultant who conducted this and other surveys for USB over the last four years.

“Surveys like these help determine trends so leaders are kept aware of changing attitudes among their constituents,” Mahe says. “They also help leaders be sure they are staying in touch with the people who are paying the bill.”

So if you have new suggestions on how you want them to spend your checkoff money, let USB know (800-989-8721).

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