In this opinion piece, Blake Hurst explains how the livestock markets are broken and how a well-researched snapshot of our present situation can help the U.S. figure out what the future should look like for the industry.
I’m flat busted. My Missouri corn and soybean farm is bankrupt, financially incompetent, a lousy credit risk, upside down--you pick the financial euphemism for a balance sheet that is downright ugly. I’m still paying my bills on time and eating good, due to some profitable years in the recent past, but any honest appraisal of my farm’s future income and liabilities is dark indeed. Of course, if there is any comfort to be found in shared misery, every other producer of corn and soybeans in the U.S. is in the same position.
Twitter-transmitted pictures of spring 2019 in the Midwest have made my feed a stream of continuous heartbreak. Video after video of flooded fields and homes, stuck tractors, ruined crops, with pictures of tornado damage serving as the visual exclamation point to the slow-moving disaster that we’re living in the central part of the nation. We’ve have several hundred acres under water on our farm, our fields are dotted with wet spots and ruts, and we’re the fortunate ones, given what I see on my social media feed. It is a helpless feeling to watch as farmers and homeowners throughout the Midwest suffer from this disaster of historic proportions.
Land prices are always a hot topic in farm communities, and like most farmers, I’ve gathered with neighbors after an auction of local farm ground to forecast the imminent financial demise of the farmer who bought that piece of ground I would have loved to own.
I think there is a fairly large contingent of journalists covering climate or agriculture or both who think we could stop climate change with a single admission by a major farm organization that the only logical reaction to increasing atmospheric carbon is abject terror.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced plans to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture from their present homes in Washington, D.C., to somewhere, anywhere else but Washington.