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10 June 2018 - Weather is a Key Topic of Conversation

Weather….something we all like to talk about, but very little we can do to change it. Having been in the broadcast industry for over six decades I have seen a lot of change in the forecasting technology, but also a lot of change in the time devoted to weather in radio & TV newscasts. In my early days of radio, the weather forecast got about 30 seconds to a minute, to tell you if it was going to rain or if there was going to be a blizzard. That was about it, but my how that has changed.

On television news, it has become a major story, taking anywhere from three to five minutes of a 30-minute newscast. I have been in Arizona for the past three weeks and weather has indeed been getting a lot of attention as we have hit the first 100 degree day of the summer season, then a few days later, the first 110 degree day in the desert, with 5% humidity, and no rain for 87 days. It was a major story and a lot of time was spent on TV about how to deal with the heat, just as in the Midwest, we spend we spend a lot of time talking about how we deal with sub-zero cold weather in the winter. We live with it!!

But before satellites, radar, storm fronts, flash floods and drought, it was a major topic of conversation at every gathering of farmers and ranchers across the country. I remember very well that at rural coffee shops, farm conventions or the feed mill, the two main topics of conversation were weather and market prices.

With our technology right now, we can be more accurate with the timing and movement of storms and have learned that weather changes dramatically and quickly. Just looking at the past two or three months, we have already had the beginning of the tropical depression or hurricane storm season, We have also had drought in the Southern plains wheat country of the United States and floods in the Midwest; we have had drought and flooding in crop areas of Brazil and Argentina, and certainly weather concerns for the wheat crop in Ukraine, Australia and Russia.

It does create interest beyond the rural coffee shop because it does impact food availability, prices at the supermarket and prices at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange. So, at that breakfast gathering at the coffee shop, yes, keep talking about weather. You can’t change it but you can certainly talk about it and what it will do to your market prices.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.