Thursday, December 31, 2009

What a year...what a decade

It is hard to believe that this is the last day of the first decade of the 2000's. It seems like only yesterday that folks debated when the Millennium actually started. Remember the fear of computers not understanding the year 2000. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter were all a mystery.

Fast forward to 2009. It was a difficult weather year for farmers. Our normal rainfall is about 50 inches in a year and 2009 graced us with over 80 inches of rain and a lot of that was at harvest time. There is still cotton in the fields and the quality and yield is dropping.

Peanut yields were good in most areas but as a farmer told me last week he and his neighbors won't plant peanuts at $425 because there is no money in them. When he figured his taxes he said he paid to grow peanuts. Strangely, he assured me he knows a $525 peanut would cause us to bust the market again.

One bright spot is the new varieties we have. Yields have increased noticeably during the decade of the zeros. I had one farmer tell me he never thought he could have a farm average of 5500 pounds.

I have to hope that the decade of the 10's will take us to yields over three tons and maybe even 7000 pounds for our best producers. The investment growers have made through their checkoff dollars in the breeding programs are certainly paying off.

Ten years ago auto steer tractors were a mere vision. Now they are common place and we may find them even more useful as we look to spraying fungicides at night.

Another bright spot is consumption. Consumption of peanut butter, which is the foundation of our market, has continued to be strong.

It is truly my wish for my farmers that we can have a prosperous year and decade. I am saddened to hear really good farmers talk about the economic hardships they are facing. Remember that farmers feed the world.

God Bless!