Optimism in Agriculture

Probably the biggest reason I love being involved in agriculture is the optimism that both crop and livestock producers bring to their careers. You have to be optimistic to plant corn without knowing how much rain you’ll get or to breed sows to have pigs to sell 10 months in the future.


This past week I was reminded of this optimism in 2 ways. On Friday, I saw a grain producer located just to the southeast of Austin, MN planting corn. With an average frost-free date in early May for this area, this is optimism to the extreme.


After 2 years of financial pain, pork producer’s optimism that things would get better has paid off. If they were able to survive the severe erosion in equity the past 2 years, the opportunities for profits in the coming years looks to be very good.


As a consultant, producers curtailed use of my services in the past 2 years. Many producers and veterinarians told me they knew that my services in troubleshooting ventilation and housing problems and educating growers on management issues were valuable. However, they were forced into prioritizing cash expenses and my services were on the list of items to reduce.


In the past few weeks this has changed. I’ve had several calls from producers who want to invest in changes to their facilities. They feel their cash flow is going to be such that they can swing an investment in repairs and/or remodeling to make their work easier, to save long term on propane expense, etc.


In talking with gilt suppliers, producers have begun the process of turning over their aging sow inventories. Some suppliers have told me that they are completely sold out in the short term.


While there are only a few new facilities planned for this summer, the equipment suppliers are telling me that spending on replacement and repair items is picking up a sign that producers are reinvesting in their production facilities.


Yes, the spring of 2010 is bringing needed profits to the pork industry. Producer’s are looking forward to being able to reinvest in their production facilities.


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