Things can always be worse. If you're alive and reading this, then 2011 wasn't a complete disaster. In fact, some of you probably made more money farming in 2011 than at any other time in your career.
Some- but not all. The 2011 crop season was a challenging one for many people, with record heat when corn should have been doing its thing, and no rain when soybeans were trying to fill pods. And rain in the spring frustrated more farmers than not.
A farmer's prayer is for something better in 2012. The weather forecasters aren't cooperating so far, saying this spring could be as ugly as last, but hey, weathermen have been wrong before. In fact, I just heard a report that two scientists at the University of Colorado just acknowledged that their two decades of predicting hurricane seasons with computer models was meaningless. They were so inaccurate that their predictions weren't helpful.
Hoosiers will elect a new governor this year. Don't forget about the person who is second on the ticket when you vote in November. They inherit the job as Secretary of Indiana agriculture. Becky Skillman, completing sever years in that job already, will leave mighty big shoes to fill after her term expires. This administration, under her leadership and vision, has elevated agriculture to the level of importance it deserves in this state. Let's hope that whoever we elect realizes as well how important agriculture is to Indiana and it's people and economy.
We'll also elect a new President and members of Congress. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, nothing more than a farm paper editor, to realize that there will be huge differences to choose form. This could be the most important election to the future of America, and to agriculture, in decades, maybe ever. That's been said before, but this time, it's nothing short of the truth.
Congress will wrangle over a new Farm Bill too. Direct payments are likely history. What farmers want to protect are conservation programs vital to the well- being of the country, and crop insurance, protection against years like 2011 that could wipe out a farm operation in one fell swoop.
No doubt 2012 will be an interesting year. Let's hope it's prosperous for Indiana agriculture, and for you and your family as well. Happy New Year!