This might be a good year

What an exciting time to be in agriculture! Corn is up! Beans are up! Hay is up! Beets are…well, I don’t really know anything about beets except they are up out of the ground and looking good. But everything else is looking better – price-wise - than it has in a while.

With all this great potential for a great year, it’s easy to get excited. It’s so easy to think about all the stuff you’re going to do with all that extra money! Pay off debt, buy machinery, or go on vacation somewhere that doesn’t involve looking at machinery. The possibilities are endless! It’s a great time to be alive and working in the good ol’ USA! Nothing can stop us now!

But wait a minute! Remember the old story about not counting your chickens before they hatch? First of all, remember that all that corn, hay, beans and maybe beets are not yet in the bin or stack or elevator, so you can’t start spending that money yet.

And lest you get giddy with hope, let me remind you that there are many, many, MANY ways for a year to go south, even if it starts out looking good. Just in case you need reminding, here are things that can happen to a good year:

  1. Even irrigated land needs a little help from rain. If you can’t get water on it, it won’t grow. If it won’t grow, it won’t yield, and if it won’t yield, that new tractor is just a lovely dream.
  2. Faraway Forces Beyond Our Control: China (or any other country) could do something crazy that sends the price of fertilizer into outer space. Sneaky little weasel hackers can mess up companies that buy our stuff. These things can change your good year into a bad year before you can say, “Coronavirus.”
  3. Forces Beyond Our Control In Our Backyard: Such as an irrigation tunnel collapsing, or…well, other things that can happen. Use your imagination. Actually, don’t do that, it will give you nightmares.

Now, you might think this sounds pessimistic. A big, fat, wet blanket on your happy thoughts…a wind-filled thunderstorm on your parade…a load of red ants on your picnic. But really, I’m just saying that in agriculture nothing much has changed. A good year can turn out bad, but a bad year can turn out good.

Agriculture is a roller-coaster, a throw of the dice, a Hail Mary in the last seconds of the game. Good prices, bad prices, good years, bad years, it’s been this way FOREVER.

So, if you’re crazy enough to be in this game, enjoy the ride. Enjoy the way a spider web looks with dew on it early in the morning. Enjoy the way a newborn calf gets up and tries to play before it can walk. Enjoy that double rainbow after a thunderstorm. Enjoy the smell of alfalfa in bloom.

And if this turns out to be a really good year, ENJOY THAT MONEY!