I don't have a crystal ball. For those of you who remember The Johnny Carson Show, and his character, Carnac, The Magnificent, I don't have a hermitically-sealed mayonnaise jar to pull answers out of either. And I didn't resort to a Ouija Board or that old-fashioned Crazy-Eight ball that looked like a bowling ball with a window that supposedly told your future if you shook up the ball just right.
My 'predictions' are based upon personal insights, with a little bias thrown in. Any resemblance to what actually happens in 2012 is likely accidental!
#10- All legislators legislate! –Don't look for the House Democrats in Indiana to disappear to neighboring Illinois as they did a year ago. Elections are this November, and the memory of such a stunt, pulled two years in a row, might resonate with voters.
Whether legislators staying in Indianapolis and legislating is good or bad for agriculture is another matter. Remember that there are those pundits who believe that the people are better off when the legislature doesn't do anything, including passing new regulations.
#9- Congress punts the Farm Bill to 2013- How can a Congress at the national level that can't even decide on tax extensions tackle something as huge as the Farm Bill debate and come out with a finished product in 12 months, especially in an election year? My money is on them failing at this task too, just like they don't pass budgets, super committee or no super committee.
#8- More county Farm Service Agency offices consolidate- Pressure will continue to mount on all USDA entities. Don't be surprised if sooner or later, maybe yet this year, some more offices consolidate to save money. Of course, it's an election year, so this may not happen as quick as I suspect it might.
#7- GPS goes cellular- It's already started, and look for a big explosion of switching to cellular technology vs. radio transmissions to get correction signals. It allows you to get signals in places where it might be tough to do otherwise.
#6- More people switch to GLONASS capable receivers- Give the Russians some credit. Their satellites are helpful and since they're newer, tend to be more powerful. If you're buying a GPS receiver, make sure it is capable of picking up GLONASS signals. You'll be pulling in more satellite information, and have a better chance of keeping signal along tree lines and in other tough to get locations.
#5- Another insect becomes resistant to a trait- Don't ask me what it will be, and don't blame me. But it's obvious that insects are figuring out the best of technology in the seed, especially when they're exposed to the same technology time and time again. While there's a debate over whether what's happening in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska with a certain rootworm event is resistance or not – the result is the same- the western corn rootworm beetle larvae are figuring out how to survive.
#4- Four Master Farmers and an Honorary Master Farmer named- Hey, I've got to make sure I get one right. Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture are on track to honor four more farm families and an honorary member this year. The only way I miss this one is if two people are nominated jointly, and we end up with five instead of four Master Farmers. Get those nominations in by Feb. 15!
#3- Cover crop field days surpass reduced tillage field days- If we're not there already, we're close. It's driven by intense interest in cover crops, both to protect the soil but capture nitrogen for use next year. Look for an explosion in cover crop use in mainstream farming.
#2- Indiana State Fair 4-H livestock shows canceled due to cheating- OK, I hope this doesn't happen, but I hope I've got your attention. The problem with cheating in 4-H, based on incidents reported and discovered last year, seem as numerous and bad as at any time in the past. Yet no one, including state 4-H officials, appear to be taking visible steps to turn the tide. If they are, they're certainly not talking about it. Instead of training a whole new generation of livestock judges, showmen and ethical citizens and producers, we could be raising a bunch of cheaters. It's not the image 4-H or anyone else wants, but it's a possibility unless those in charge step to the plate, and do it soon!
#1- Another year of late planting- OK, I don't like this one either. But all signs point to it. The experts say that because of a return of La Nina, this spring could be a repeat of last. Let's hope not. But in case it is, you read it here first.
Have fun in Indiana agriculture in 2012! Farming and the farm life should be fun. That's my bonus prediction- we return to simpler, more fun-filled times in all of our goings-ons in 2012. If any one prediction were to come true, that might be the most important of all!