You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
2011: Ringing in a good year
By Tracy Taylor Grondine
As we ring in 2011, the song “Feeling Good” by jazz singer and songwriter Nina Simone comes to mind. Like the song’s lyrics, it is a new dawn, a new day, and many in agriculture have good prospects for feeling good.
Economic indicators show that U.S. agriculture is poised for progress this year. While some producers are certainly facing individual challenges, due to weather or other factors, the numbers for the sector as a whole look strong. Last year, farmers saw a record $92.5 billion net cash farm income and prices for many commodities soared. For example, cotton markets hit levels not seen since the Civil War.
While no one knows just what’s going to happen this year, one has to think farmers should see reasonable returns, especially with net numbers as good as they were last year. And if the general economy and job creation improve, and if our nation can grow some new export opportunities, there might be even better revenues in store.
With the new 112th Congress, agriculture will also have new opportunities. With a likely congressional shift toward small-business concerns, issues such as tax and regulatory reform could find traction. The new Congress should also be friendlier on the trade front and will hopefully pass the three stalled bilateral trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. There will likely also be more congressional activity having to do with adding some common sense to environmental regulations, which could bode well for agriculture in the new bipartisan Congress.
Also, for the first time ever, major organizations in the agriculture sector have joined together to work on a long-term effort to engage on food issues. Coupled with a new spirit of activism among individual farmers and ranchers, today’s agriculture may be more prepared than ever to communicate and interact with the companies that buy and the people who ultimately consume farm products. The broad agriculture community will present a much stronger force to combat naysayers, while collaborating on emerging food issues and concerns expressed by consumers.
Alas, with opportunities come challenges. The cynics will continue to try to disparage U.S. agriculture to consumers. And let’s not forget there’s a farm bill to be written by a new agriculture committee that will include new members unfamiliar with farm policy. And there is the new pressure that all Americans will feel related to righting our nation’s economic ship.
But, the positives outweigh the challenges, and farmers are worth their salt when it comes to rising up to meet obstacles. So, as we continue to ring in 2011, the tune that comes to mind is more Jazz than Blues. American agriculture is facing a year of noteworthy opportunity.
Tracy Taylor Grondine is director of media relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Floresville FFA teams state-bound (April 27, 2016)
Floresville FFA wins in Houston — livestock, judging, tractor restorations (April 27, 2016)
Hail damage may reduce harvest (April 27, 2016)
Karnes City Auction sale (April 27, 2016)
Land Stewardship produces a healthy Texas (April 27, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 27, 2016)
Pesticide class set for May 16 (April 27, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 27, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 27, 2016)
Ag program for military (April 20, 2016)
Benefit team roping in Jourdanton (April 20, 2016)
Bird feeding options (April 20, 2016)
Catfish management plan released (April 20, 2016)
County 4-H’ers place in Houston (April 20, 2016)
Guada-Coma Chapter news (April 20, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 20, 2016)
Regional conservation partnership (April 20, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 20, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 20, 2016)
Youth Range Workshop (April 20, 2016)
Always follow label instructions (April 13, 2016)
Chemical collection is May 11 (April 13, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 13, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley show produces champions (April 13, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 13, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 13, 2016)
East Central’s Patterson, Kempen, and poultry team win at SA show (April 6, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 6, 2016)
Pruning without painting? (April 6, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 6, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 6, 2016)
Tree grafting, pruning workshop (April 6, 2016)
Wilson County Spring Educational Program (April 6, 2016)
April 2016 Gardening Calendar (April 1, 2016)