The drought and 'herought' as Dave Nanda calls it, will forever be the first image that springs to mind of 2012. Heat and drought crippled corn yields. Higher grain prices and crop insurance bailed many people out, but livestock producers still twist in the wind, with high grain and hay prices, hoping for relief.
Some other things happened during the drought year. Roger Wenning of Decatur County was named Supervisor of the Year by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in January. The award is sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer.
Many Hoosiers went to the successful farm machinery show in Louisville in February. Weather was good for that event. New products were introduced, and Indiana Prairie Farmer checked out new offerings.
The crop season started well. Plants emerged and the yield potential looked good. Than all heck broke loose, to put it mildly. The corn crop tanked, although soybeans recovered to make a decent crop.
Pastures were short. Animals were culled. Farmers harvested corn for silage in July and left strips for crop insurance adjustors to check later.
Double crop soybeans planted on time sat in the soil, some until it finally rained Aug. 5. Some would have made beans except for an on-time killing frost. Adjustors wrote many fields off as a total loss.
Despite all that there was a state fair. There were tractors of the day named in Pioneer Village, and a parade held each evening. Old equipment restored to its earlier glory was displayed for the first time in the State Fair Pioneer Village area.
Officials of the Humane Society of the United States visited the Fair and wanted to create as much havoc as possible. They wanted to hold their press conference with an old egg truck in the antique part of Pioneer village as the backdrop, but pre-warned old-timers fired up so many tractors by the time they got there that the sound crew couldn't pick up their voices and they had to move. Insiders say they heard them mumble "You did this on purpose." Old-timers at the village just smiled and waved good-bye.
Soil conservation award winners in the River Friendly Farmer program were awarded their signs and officially recognized during the State Fair. DuPont opened a new pavilion based on food, and one end of the building featured cooking demonstrations.
After the state fair came the Indiana Ag Safety Forum in September and a mock tractor victim rescue. Farm Credit Services awarded a major grant to Purdue to continue their grain bin demonstrations, and offset the cost for those attending.
Harvest began, and the National FFA Convention met at Indianapolis for the last time until 2016. It's going back to Louisville for three years.
Soon Hoosiers elected a new governor, Mike Pence, and new Secretary of Agriculture, Sue Ellspermann.
Cover crops were the big news of the fall in the crop world as Hoosiers planted more acres of cover crops, unofficially, than ever before. Retiring NRCS chief Dave White returned to Indiana on his last official visit outside of Washington, DC.
Yes, lots of things happened in 2012 including the drought, in Indiana Agriculture. Many of them were good, some not so good. Remember the year in pictures, and look forward to another exciting 2013.
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