As Thanksgiving is this week, it’s a good idea here to think of what we can be thankful for in agriculture.
· While the drought certainly had a major impact, crop yields were higher for many farmers than they anticipated. Just this last week, soybean production was higher than expected in Kansas. This is not to diminish the poor crops many had, but points out the advances made in breeding crops and in cultural practices.
· While commodity prices aren’t where producers want them to be compared to input costs, commodity prices have remained strong.
· Export demand for farm commodities produced in the United States is strong overall and a bright spot in this country’s trade balance.
· Governor Brownback and the legislature have placed great importance on the need for supporting the agriculture industry in Kansas. Governor Brownback has stated strongly technical agriculture education is a priority for community and technical schools.
· A just released poll asked people in various industries if they would recommend their profession to their child(ren). The group, in a runaway, recommending their career to their children was agriculture at 66%. This is quite a change from the last decade. The next profession was about 20% less.
· An ever expanding renewable energy industry promises opportunity and income over the next twenty plus years.
· Technology promises ever increasing efficiencies and greater environmental stewardship.
· While the state could use more precipitation, the wheat crop is in much better shape in the area than a year ago. The areas receiving an inch or more last weekend are in relatively good shape heading into winter if conditions remain seasonal.
· Kansas agriculture has strong allies in Washington with Senators Roberts and Moran. They are not only knowledgeable advocates regarding agriculture in our state but also work towards maintaining and revitalizing rural communities.
Is this column pretending that everything is great? No. But sometimes we all become so trapped in the cycle of problems we forget the positive. Have a safe, delicious, and thankful Thanksgiving.