Members of the Wisconsin National Farmers Organization attended the group's annual meeting Dec. 6 at the Holiday Inn in Fond du Lac.
Several members of the group received awards. Francis and Betty Kleckner of Ozaukee County, Ray Keck of Fond du Lac County and Bill and Marilyn Miller of Sheboygan County were all presented the Family Farm Preservation Award.
Jim and Bonnie Casper of Calumet County were recognized with the Young Leader Award.
Jesse Bardin of Amherst, a student at University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in environmental science, was the Wisconsin NFO Scholarship winner. Jesse read his winning essay.
Speakers at the meeting included U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wis., Ron Mattos, national NFO vice president, and Wisconsin NFO staff member Gary Crosby who presented the livestock report.
Crosby expressed concern about volatile farm prices.
"We've seen some tough times in agriculture and we're getting through them," Crosby said. "Who could have predicted what farm prices and prices for fuel have done in the past 10 months? Nobody."
Crosby believes beef producers were better off with corn at $4 a bushel than they are now with corn at $2.50 a bushel.
"Beef prices were about $117 a hundred back in spring, now cattle are down to $83.70 a hundredweight," he noted.
Crosby expressed concern about oil prices dropping to $42 a barrel from a high of $147 last July.
"As much as you hate giving the oil companies anything, we need some stability in the economy," he said. "If oil goes to $25 a barrel, what's going to happen to ethanol?
"Agriculture affects everybody," Crosby concluded. "The health of agriculture will drive the economy."