Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Corn Growers Association, along with other agricultural organizations, sent a letter to President Trump on Monday, calling on the President to maintain the integrity of the RFS.“We appreciate the President’s support of the RFS since the early days of his campaign,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “Rural America supported President Trump last year, now we need the President to support rural America. Supporting policy changes that undermine the RFS will hurt farmers, renewable fuel plant workers, and rural America.”The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects 2018 net farm income will decline an additional $4.3 billion this year, a 6.7 percent reduction from 2017 levels. This represents the lowest net farm income, in nominal dollars, since 2006 and is a 50-percent decline in net farm income since 2013.The letter to the President disputes the recent claims made by an East Coast refinery that the RFS is to blame for their recent bankruptcy. “Mismanagement of a single refinery should not be used as an excuse for undoing ten-years of sound policy,” Skunes added. “Last November, the EPA concluded RIN values are not causing economic harm to refiners. The failings of one company should not be used to destroy a successful energy policy that serves not only millions of farmers who rely on strong market demand created by the RFS, but the hundreds of ethanol and biodiesel plants and tens of thousands of plant workers. The reality is, most refiners are reporting double-digit profit increases.”“Mr. President, now is not the time to turn your back on rural America. Do not undermine the RFS and risk putting farmers in an even harder economic situation than they are already in,” Skunes added. “There is a win-win here, but it means following the intent of the RFS and increasing the supply of RINs through regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends of ethanol to lower values, as well as bringing more transparency to the trading system.”To view a copy of the letter sent to President Trump, click here.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Russ QuinnDTN Staff ReporterOMAHA (DTN) — With much of the Corn Belt facing a late-maturing, high-moisture crop, some farmers are already making plans to dry their grain this fall. That means they’ll likely need to purchase propane — if they haven’t already — to fuel their grain dryers.Late summer and early fall is the time many farmers lock in propane prices for the grain-drying season. With a wet spring delaying planting this year, especially in the Eastern Corn Belt, there could be a lot of wet grain to dry this fall.Right now, propane prices are low thanks to high production of the fuel, according to propane analysts. But high demand for propane during harvest followed by a cold winter could push prices higher.PROPANE PRICE AT MULTI-YEAR LOWThere is a good supply of propane in the country as fall harvest begins, said DTN Refined Fuels Reporter Alton Wallace. That has been the case in the U.S. since the beginning of the “Shale Revolution” in 2012, which has allowed the country to dramatically increase crude oil and natural gas production, he said.According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics, propane production in the U.S. is now roughly about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). And production is continuing to increase, Wallace said, growing by 8.3% from 2017 to 2019.“We have a lot of propane right now,” Wallace said.One doesn’t have to be an economist to figure out that if supply outpaces demand, prices will decline, Wallace said. In mid-August, for example, the price of propane at the Conway, Kansas, hub fell to 37 cents per gallon, a three-and-a-half-year low, he said. In mid-September 2018, the price at Conway was near 78 cents a gallon.With propane production at record levels, the market is in an oversupply situation, and prices have been less volatile than in the past, Wallace said.“The U.S. has become an energy superpower because of the Shale Revolution,” he said.While it appears likely that propane prices will be fairly low this fall, there are some factors that could drastically alter that outlook, Wallace said.The propane market can see increased volatility due to the weather, Wallace said. As history has shown, extremely cold winter weather can cause an increase in propane demand and prices can skyrocket quickly. A harvest season in which farmers need more propane to dry down wet crops followed by a cold winter could create a situation where propane prices move considerably higher, he said.Another factor that could affect propane prices is the burgeoning export market.Because of its increased propane production, the U.S. has become a major exporter on the global market, Wallace said. EIA data for the week ended Sept. 13 showed U.S. propane exports at 1.162 million barrels per day.Wallace said companies are building export facilities as this is becoming an important component of the market. The downside to increased propane exports is if export demand for propane rises, those buying propane in the U.S. — such as farmers — are forced to compete for availability with the export market, he said.SOME BOOK PROPANE, SOME DON’TIn August, DTN asked readers about their propane-buying habits. This question was posed in the DTN 360 Poll: “As propane production has increased and domestic demand has been flat, the price of propane has dropped to half its value during the past 12 months. Some farmers may be thinking about their propane needs for the upcoming crop drying and heating. What is your plan for propane this late-summer/fall?”The poll received a total of 171 responses. Of those, 46% said they “Will book propane in August.” Thirty-nine percent said they were “Not going to book propane at all,” while 12% said they “Will book propane in September.” The remaining 3% said they “Will book propane in October.This week, Mark Nowak, a farmer and ag consultant from Wells, Minnesota, told DTN his propane dealer was set to visit him the same day to preorder some of his propane needs. He was set to lock his propane price at $1.08 per gallon, which he said was down from last year ($1.19 per gallon) and 2017 ($1.13 per gallon).There could be a lot of crop drying needed this fall across the Corn Belt, Nowak said. He estimated that most of the corn will black layer by Oct. 1, and thus, the moisture at that time would likely be around 32%.Most farmers harvest corn around 22%-24%, so the crop will need to dry 8% to 10% in October, he said.“I think the month of October is going to be the wildcard here,” Nowak said. “If we continue to see this warm and dry weather, I think the crop can dry down pretty good. But if we see cool and cloudy weather, maybe we will be doing a lot of drying.”CROP MOST BEHIND IN EASTERN CORN BELTCorn and soybean planting was delayed across much of the Corn Belt this spring by wet field conditions, but one region where this was especially true was the Eastern Corn Belt. Areas in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio saw much rain, which pushed planting to as late as the summer in some cases.Brian Scott, who farms near Monticello, Indiana, said his region will see a late harvest this fall. He estimated harvest could be around a month later than normal.“We have a lot of corn that probably won’t black layer until mid-October,” Scott told DTN.Scott said the grain dryers in his region are going to be used this fall. It has been a couple of years since they last used their grain-drying equipment, he said.Scott booked propane earlier this summer — not necessarily because of the amount of drying that could take place this fall, but to take advantage of a summer-fill discounted price. He topped off his 4,000-gallon storage tank like he normally does, he said.There are other farmers who are planning for the increased demand for propane this fall, Scott said. He said he knows of one farmer who built a new propane storage facility so he could get a good price on propane this year. The new facility will allow him to take a full semi-truckload of propane, Scott said.Another farmer who already booked some propane was Mike Cooprider of Howesville, Indiana. He planted his corn from May 18 through June 5. However, he wasn’t able to plant his soybeans until July 15.“Like most farmers, we are praying for a long fall,” Cooprider said.Cooprider said he dries “a lot of corn” every fall, but this year, he could be drying all of his corn crop. For that reason, he has already filled the propane tanks at his bin sites, he said.Russ Quinn can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN(AG/CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
The wheelchair dolly is a tried-and-true DIY tool — for projects of all sizes. Check out these 7 tips on how to use one to improve your film.Cover Image of Jean-Luc Godard on the set of Breathless (via Studio Canal).There are plenty of dolly options available for filmmakers at all levels of production. Even for those looking for DIY options can find tons of great resources to put something together on the cheap. However, if you’re looking for one simple solution (which can actually be much more versatile and fun), consider the indie-filmmaker’s favorite — the wheelchair dolly.While there are some wheelchair-style dollies specifically for filmmaking (all great options), let’s focus on using a standard-issue wheelchair, which you can often find secondhand at thrift stores or online (here’s a link to Ebay). Once you’re all set, here are seven creative ways to put your DIY wheelchair dolly to use.1. Push or PullImage via AMC.Let’s start with the basics. Using a wheelchair dolly is great for pushing in or pulling out shots. You’ll usually see these types of shots in large-scale productions, as they both see a lot of use for narrative effect (creating important moments) or for clarity of composition. If you keep the movement short and straight, the wheelchair will work very much like your standard track-dolly setup, but without all the assembly and breakdown.Bonus Tip: if you’re shooting solo or with an extremely small crew, you can always sit yourself in a wheelchair and do some short push or pull movements using only your feet. Try it — even a few inches can add style and depth to what would normally be a regular set shot.2. Walk and TalksImage from The West Wing via NBC.Along with straightforward push and pull shots for dramatic effect, a wheelchair is a great option for long tracking shots like the now-recognizable Aaron Sorkin-style Walk and Talk shot (which you can see parodied here). The wheelchair is great because your camera operator can face your subject or subjects while someone pulls them backward.3. Tracking Low AnglesImage via Tumblr.The flexibility a wheelchair offers to the camera operator while sitting is also great. You usually won’t need to lock the camera operator in, and they’ll have almost a full range of motion from the seat. As such, to get many low-angle tracking shots, you don’t need to assemble a tricky low-to-the-the floor dolly setup; you can simply direct your camera op to lean over and hold the camera at a low angle. This may make things a little less steady, but for shorter moves (and with surer-handed ops), it’s a solid technique.4. Curved Tracking MovesAnother aspect of the wheelchair dolly that makes it unique is the simple fact that it is not bound to a set of tracks. The wheelchair, by its nature, is more mobile and can perform complex and curved maneuvers. Try laying some track to recreate this famous circle move from Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave classic Breathless.5. Extremely Long Tracking ShotsImage via monnomestdavid.Similar to the Walk and Talk trick, using a wheelchair dolly for extremely long tracking shots is a great way to consolidate resources on DIY productions. The wheelchair can be quite effective, even with only a two-person crew: one to sit and one to move the wheelchair around. If you’re going over long distances, try situating your camera operator in a more relaxed and flexible position (they can also use a Steadicam or some other stabilizer). Be careful, though, with different floor textures (like thick carpet), thresholds between doorways, etc.6. Dolly ZoomsThe wheelchair dolly can also make it easier to perform dolly zooms (which is also known as the Hitchcock zoom or Vertigo Effect). With the camera operator sitting (or kneeling), their hands should be free enough to manually perform a zoom while someone pushes them in the chair at a medium to fast pace. You may have to do several takes, as hitting the focus will always be difficult during such a move, but the effort is worth it in the end.7. Using Natural GravityImage via Film Riot.Finally, one of the riskier wheelchair dolly tricks is to let things like gravity and inclines take control of your movements. These opportunities might not come up often, but if you ever need to simulate a character POV or follow a movement that rapidly increases in speed while slipping or sliding down, using a wheelchair in a controlled free fall move is a daring option. (Be sure to have plenty of people around to help guide and catch the camera op.)For more DIY production tips, check out some of these resources.Gear Hacks: DIY Camera Stabilizers and Rigs for Under $255 DIY Tutorials and Gear Hacks for Filmmakers5 DIY Tips for Your Next ShootPremiumBeat DIY ArchivesThree Ways To Light A Tent Scene On a Low Budget