So looking back on 2012, what all did happen? Well, for agriculture it will definitely be a year that will be remembered for droughts, record breaking commodity prices, and also a year that ended without a farm bill. At the beginning of 2012, I don't think anyone thought we would see the drought we saw this last summer that basically ruined many farmers corn and soybean crops in the Midwest. Unfortunately, many farmers saw their crops turn brown before the summer ended. Even ranchers struggled to get feed for their livestock since much of the feed stock began to dwindle as the drought worsened. This lead to skyrocketing feed prices for many. Along with the drought, it was also a year where grain commodities seemed to continue to move higher and higher due to the drought conditions. I won't forget some even predicting corn prices going over $9 and soybeans going over $20. Luckily prices didn't get that high and began to level out as fall harvest approached.
Although the drought and commodity prices were big news makers in 2012, I think another big news maker is the fact that congress hasn't created and passed a new farm bill. For the first time in history, congress has let an old farm bill expire without enacting a new farm bill. Many don't realize how important a farm bill is to this country since it provides jobs, energy, food, and disaster relief for farmers and ranchers when natural disasters hit their family farms and ranches. Without a farm bill, it is likely that food prices will climb, food aide won't be available for those who need it, and farmers and ranchers won't have disaster relief assistance when another drought or severe storm strikes their family farm. Hopefully those that have been elected won't allow this to continue on into 2013! Yet, even though 2012 wasn't just the greatest year for agriculture, it was a year where farmers and ranchers optimism seemed to persevere. While it could have been a year full of negative attitudes and lost hope, most farmers and ranchers continued to have positive attitudes despite crops burning up and also keeping hopes for better days to come alive. I think that is something all Americans can learn from the American farmer.
For me, 2012 was a year filled with many different experiences and opportunities. During the past year I was able to attend the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee; wrap up an internship with the Nebraska Corn Board where I learned a lot about the corn industry in Nebraska and in the U.S; took an internship with Cooperative Producers Inc., who I am now employed with as their Precision Ag Specialist; became a teaching assistant at UNL for a commodity marketing class and was able to see the "other side" of the classroom as an instructor instead of a student; and graduated the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in agricultural economics and a minor in international agriculture. Yet, the best part of 2012 for me was being able to spend time with friends and family where many memories were made that will last a lifetime.
So looking back on 2012, it was definitely a year filled with many different challenges and experiences yet also a year filled with lots of appreciation for things that we are blessed with. There is no doubt that as I continue to grow older, each year will go faster and faster. Yet, it is also a reminder that life is short and that we must make the most of our time by taking on new challenges, gaining new experiences, and appreciating those who are in our lives! I wish everyone a happy new year and a prosperous and exciting 2013!