Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
As we sit down and savor the joys of Thanksgiving dinner, we certainly have much to be thankful for this year. In spite of no rainfall from July 1 through October 1 (I recorded 2" during that time period) we raised a decent crop. It wasn't a bin buster, but it was certainly much better than anyone could have hoped for. I think everyone would agree that corn breeders are one group of professionals we all need to thank. Hybrids today are much better able to grow and function in spite of some very adverse conditions. Many can remember 1983 and 1988, when we had similar summertime weather as this year, and it had a much greater impact on corn yields.
Likewise we all need to consider and thank those that allow producers to function as effectively as they do, all those professionals who attend to your needs so effectively: seed, chemical, fertilizer, equipment, marketing, grain merchandiser, lending professionals and many others are essential to your well being. And they often times are in a balancing act attempting to attend to your needs and at the same time trying to make sure other customers are treated fairly as well. The pressures of these jobs are sometimes heavy, but these professionals come through in the pinch and provide essential services that some farmers take for granted.
Often times during the spring and fall seasons, it's easy to lose track of those individuals you're closest to- your family. Without them, where would any of us be today?
The past few years have been historic in terms of profitability. At no other time in history have we seen land prices at the level they are now. Of course, when times are good, that wealth gets shared. Fertilizer prices today, although not at an all time high, are close to it. Seed, equipment and other inputs are increasing on a yearly basis. Rents are increasing each year as well. Regularly we hear of some unbelievable figures being offered. It makes one wonder how much profit there can be at the end of the day when some of these numbers go floating by.
We sometimes wonder how sustainable it all is. We went through a similar episode in 2008, when prices escalated to the point of wonderment. Many thought we'd reached a new plateau. But then the world recession hit and prices plummeted. Corn lost half of its value in a matter of months. How secure are we that the prices we see today will be those of tomorrow? Especially since Agriculture is truly a worldwide commodity and events far from here have as much bearing on prices as the summer drought did.
Yes, we have much to be thankful for. Take time and let those who have helped you succeed know of your appreciation.