Bayer CropScience hosted an Ag Industry Forum ahead of the Commodity Classic that kicks off today, and loaded the ag media up with a lot of interesting information. A highlight was a farmer panel with five producers from around the country who talked about business.
The best part of a producer panel is what they're going to say - which even the company sponsoring may not know. The five farmers on the panel came from Kansas, North Dakota, Illinois, Iowa and Oklahoma - you don't get much more diverse than that.
These five producers were coming off one of the best years in their farming careers, but all admitted they still had at least some grain in the bin from last year they were still trying to price. It's those kinds of challenges you face.
Most of the stories you know - fertilizer either bought too early (last year) or still waiting; scouting is more important; dealers can be good, or bad, to work with; risk management remains a tough challenge; GPS guidance - whether auto or by lightbar was common for the group; and there's more interest in biotech traits (even among the wheat growers).
It's just great to talk to guys who are upbeat about the business and working to constantly improve what they do. It gives a person a nice outlook on the industry at a time when the general media is focused more on bad news.
While livestock producers are struggling - especially in dairy land - overall the mood for these producers was one of "more than getting by" in 2009. It's a message we can all stand to hear from time to time.
Note: Commodity Classic is this week, and I'll Twitter a comment or two during the day. If you're in the Twitter world, you can follow along at www.twitter.com/Willie1701A.