COMMENTARY-- We made it. We crossed the finish line, forded the river, swam the swamp and climbed the proverbial Mount Everest of every farmer's frigid schedule. It is, for the most part, the end of the winter meeting season.
From Florida to Washington, California to D.C,. every year farmers use December to early March for fact-finding, information gathering and networking ahead of another stressful growing season.
While the crops are out, the pint-sized danishes and rubber chicken are in. I think the Farm Journal Broadcast office has been running non-stop from one meeting to another for weeks now, 12 to be exact, not counting Christmas and the New Year. But then, who's counting?
While many of you probably hit one or two, we hit them all. So here's what I've learned this year attending so many farm meetings and different shows:
1. Uncertainty is certain. Be it trade or weather, we keep waiting for answers to a moving target.
2. Farmers are either cautiously optimistic or grumpily pessimistic. The in-betweeners are hard to find this year.
3. Technology is coming FAST, but it takes money to implement.
4. Diversify, find a niche or sign a contract if you're hoping to add value.
5. Wild, crazy predictions for price, weather or policy are so passé in 2019.
One thing I think we do know for certain, this year will have its fair share of challenges.
It's going to take good management, the weather won't be perfect, prices won't be high enough and there WILL be stress.
Then again, we're farmers, we're ranchers, growers and livestock producers. You wouldn't saddle up for another ride if it wasn't in your blood.
So, as winter meeting season tops the horizon, remember spring is a time of new beginnings.
Put the free stocking hats, coffee mugs and half-zip pullovers in the closet. It's time to get to work.