New Year, new opportunity (Editorial)

by | Dec 28, 2018

Each year, for its own reasons, is memorable. For most of the regions’ farmers, 2018 is one they’d like to forget.
For many farmers who dealt with a one-two punch of poor weather and poor commodity prices in 2018, getting to the end of the year and look to the opportunities of 2019 is likely the best part of last year.
2018 started with rumors of a trade war with China and by mid-summer, the rumors were confirmed with back and forth tariffs pulling in several agricultural products, soybeans in particular.
The USDA and the White House offered support with Market Facilitation Program but even before the tariff tiff had its impact, farmers were facing a 50 percent income drop since six years ago.
Encouraging reports in December showed China had bought some U.S. soybeans and was looking for more soybeans and corn to purchase.
And in the fall, leaders signed off on a trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico that, while not finalized, offers additional stability going forward.
While the trade war simmered, farmers fought their own battle in the fields.
Historic rainfall totals, pounding rain events and lengthy stretches of wetness delayed field work, increased pest pressure and just plainly wreaked havoc throughout the east coast.
Most serious is, in the face of these hurdles, the strain on farmers’ mental health has become pertinent, with many organizations shedding light on an issue that’s too often overlooked.
The weather won’t be perfect this year and trade issues are continuing.
Challenges will remain.
But with the new year comes another chance, another opportunity to plant and grow a crop, another chance for things to change for the better.
Farmers could use a lot more to help them recover from such a forgettable year, but like so many who have persevered to make something out of nothing, having a chance is a good place to start.

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