Thank the Farmers
Published on April 4, 2020
Our annual Spring Planting Edition is out for your reading and I always look forward to it, as it is a sure sign spring is here. In a true sense for agriculture, it is the start of a new year.
Even if a spring snow storm hits the region, we realize it can’t last too long. We know to leave the muck boots handy, along with the winter caps and coats. For those of us in the higher country, we envy farmers in the Wheatland, Torrington and Big Horn Basin for the green tint out in the fields while we’re still shoveling snow.
If you are in the livestock business, we always look over the fences at their fields during the winter and marvel that their business doesn’t eat while they sleep like our livestock do. Livestock producers realize without farmers, the livestock business would be back to how it was in the late 1800s, where they would really be shaking the dice.
I’ve never planted many fields, but always wondered why the farmers’ fields greened up sooner and the only thing coming up in mine was a gopher. My family always said, “Never try to outsmart a farmer,” and they were right.
Last summer, the weather was not good for a number of crops in the region. A late, cold and wet spring, along with an early freeze in the fall, really hurt the hay and sugarbeet crops. Our summer didn’t last long in 2019.
We can say for sure hay supplies are short, most of the loaded hay trucks are coming into the state with round bales. As with all crops, everyone is looking forward to a good growing season with no tunnel issues.
We do hear there may be some irrigation canal tunnel issues this summer, but we hope they will be a quick fix. If there is such a thing with tunnels, the words quick and inexpensive are not generally associated with tunnel repair.
For irrigators, the weekly snow report has looked good for some time now. Only the Sweetwater drainage is below average. The large farming areas around the region look to have adequate water supplies so far.
Along with water, crop prices are on everyone’s mind and the virus has certainly had an impact there. Looking back on the February crop and farm sector assets, forecasts were up from 2019 around 1.3 percent. Farm debt was going to be down a little, but inflation may hurt those figures.
As we all realize, we’re in a global market and this virus issue is the unknown. The eastern Pacific countries are going to be the key with exports. China needs to eat more grain-fed beef and lamb from the U.S.
Just like the stock market, farm prices really dislike the unknown and that is where we are with the virus issue. We’ve got to get it behind us and everyone get back to work. Farmers and ranchers, along with others, are working through it as they have to.
It will be good to get back to handshakes and hugs. Stay well and away from others.
As they say, “The virus doesn’t move, people move it, if we stop moving, the virus dies. It’s that simple.”