November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021 Reading List

By David Widmar

Dear Readers,

Happy Thanksgiving. With a busy week of travel and holiday dinners ahead, we depart from our usual posts to share a fun reading list.

First, a couple of fascinating articles on fraud:

  • Organic Fraud in the Show-Me State
    While the story isn’t new, the New Yorker recently did a deep-dive that pulls back two decades of history. The scale and duration are both hard to fathom.
  • Cattle Fraud: Bigger in Texas?
    What happens when a convicted fraudster in Texas gets access to a Nebraska cattle company’s checkbook? Bankruptcy and prison.

Next, a few highlights from our team’s writings:

  • Death, Farmland, and Taxes
    Given the uncertainty surrounding estate taxes, capital gains, and stepped-up basis, we recently wrote a What We Are Thinking About Memo (WWATA) memo about the key issues and moving pieces. To demonstrate how tricky these issues can be, we noted an event in 2010 when George Steinbrenner – the owner of the New York Yankees – died. There were no estate taxes that year – which many noted saved the family hundreds of millions of dollars. But that’s not the full story; there was also no stepped-up basis, which means if the family ever sells the team, they’d face significant capital gains. (*This AEI Premium article is in front of the paywall.)
  • China and Corn
    China’s on pace for a record amount of purchases of ag products in 2021, and corn purchases have fueled the upturn. Why is China buying so much corn? The answer isn’t clear, but there are a few key trends and factors to consider (here and here).
    (*Links to AEI Premium articles. Not a subscriber yet? You can still read the articles by starting a hassle-free trial.)
  • Doughnuts Versus Diesel
    With soybean oil prices more than doubling in 2010, how will the latest iteration of the “food versus fuel” debate shake out? We’ve reviewed the 2021 situation and the longer-term trends. (*Links to AEI Premium articles. Not a subscriber yet? You can still read the articles by starting a hassle-free trial.)

Somehow, the big demand stories in U.S. agriculture have become China buying corn and soybean crushed for biofuel. What a year…

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

-Brent, David, and the entire AEI.ag Team

P.S. Road trip? Don’t forget about the podcasts: Corn Saves America and Escaping 1980.