August 27th, 2012
11:45 AM ET
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Thunder clapped and rain fell just before Bionce, Sassy and the rest of Mark Argall's prize-winning dairy herd went up for auction.

Had the storm come a few weeks earlier, and if the drought had eased, it might have saved the cows - some of which were named with a bit of poetic license ("You can spell names however you want," he said) for pop-culture divas and celebrities.

As it was, however, Argall's pasture was so dry that his cattle had nothing to eat, and the farmer was losing $75 a day just trying to feed them.

Five generations of his family have milked dairy cows in this secluded stretch of Missouri's Ozark Mountains, but the inch or so of rain that fell on this recent Thursday was too little, too late. Argall - a 54-year-old with a wiry, broomstick mustache - had no choice but to sell nearly all of his cows at a livestock auction.

Read - Farmer: 'It was the system that failed us'


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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. jonh doe

    Just have to respond. I milked for 31 yrs. Sold out in 2006. Was losing money daily. Was selling milk for less than I did 20 yrs prior to selling out. Who in he world was working for less than they were 20 yrs ago???Worked and outside job to make ends meet. DFA ( Dairy Farmers Of America) has a monoply on the milk industry. Paid us just what they wanted to . Paid top executives salaries out of this world. The middle man makes all the money. The farmer, when selling his product says "What will you give me for my produce" When buying says"What will you take for your product. Let the farmer price his productand he will survive You will be paying out the butt then for food. If food supply runshort then import the food that has little or no regulations on producing and get sick. The farmer feeds the nation 3 times a day. When food gets so high you cant buy then do like most, get on welfare and food stamps and let us working people support your lazy A??And by the way thereis no insurance for the dairy or beef farmer for draught conditions. Yes maybe for corn producers and other crop producers, I don't know Well Good Luck and and I hope you can survive with out the farmerAnd therewas no STIMULUS to bail the farmer out. What a GREAT LEADER we have.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  2. Mad Hedge Fund Trader

    According to data compiled by my former employer, the Financial Times, corn was the top performing asset class since 2007, bringing in a stunning 146% return. Who knew that global warming would be such a winning investment strategy? It was followed by gold (GLD) (144%), US corporate debt (LQD) (44%), US Treasuries (TLT) (38%), and German bunds (BUNL) (26%). This explains why my long gold/short Morgan Stanley (MS) has been going absolutely gangbusters today.

    If you ignored my advice and instead loaded the boat with equities, chances are that you are now pursuing a career at McDonalds (MCD), hoping to upgrade to Taco Bell someday. The worst performing asset classes of the past half-decade have been Greek equities (-87%), European banks (-70%), Chinese stocks (-41%), other European equities (-21%), and UK stocks (-11%). If you were in US equities, you are just about breaking even (1%).

    Corn is, no doubt, getting an assist from what many are now describing as the worst draught since the dust bowl days of the Great Depression. But there is more to the story than the weather. Empowered with long term forecasts from the CIA and the Defense Department, I have been pounding the table for years that food would become the new distressed asset. These agencies have been predicting that food shortages will become a cause of future wars.

    For a start, the world population is expected to increase from 7 billion to 9 billion over the next 40 years. Half of that increase will occur in countries that are net importers of food, largely in the Middle East and Africa. You can also count on the rising emerging nation middle class to increase demand for both the quantity and quality of food. Obesity among children is already starting to become a problem in China.

    Mad Hedge Fund Trader

    August 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  3. Cuervo Jones

    BS anyone that runs their farm like a business has insurance etc. if you want to be an 18th century Luddite, jump on it, oh yeah, and plant some veggies

    August 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  4. Derp

    Calm down, Mishra! Go buy a fur coat or something

    August 28, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  5. Lovely Mishra

    If you kill animals for a living or live off the abuse of animals, then admit it. Don't say that these animals are like family members. You protect and care for family even in difficult times and don't auction them off just because it costs you money to feed them, money that you made by selling their milk, and their off-spring (for veal). If you did this to your family, you would be in Jail you Mother f-er!

    August 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  6. Jon Wollenhaupt

    Exactly what system failed these farmers? Are farms not privately owned businesses that are subject to risk? Who or what should have saved them?

    August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
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