Just like that, 2022 has arrived and we are already more than a month in. This year will no doubt bring on a lot of continued challenges but also plenty of opportunities. As much as I can, I try to stay an optimist. It was Will Rogers who said, “The farmer has to be an optimist, or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”
I think we stay optimists by controlling what we can and understanding what is beyond our hands. We know that there are just some things you can’t control, like Mother Nature for example. I know I can’t control these negative temperatures this winter has brought.
Forecasting into this year, many commodity prices are higher than a year ago, but so are many of the inputs and operating costs. This year, it’s going to be important to control what we can in our businesses. Lock in profits by hedging your sales and inputs when it’s profitable for your farm. There are a ton of variables in farming, and we know we cannot control everything.
Weather, politics, trade, tariffs, inflation, supply chain, regulations, immigration are just a small list of issues that are outside our farmgate but directly affect our profit margins within our farms. Farm Bureau is here to fight for many of the things we cannot control alone. Our voices are stronger together. Unifying our voices is something we can control.
Ports not handling ships, locks not accommodating barge tows, rail and roads not designed for large loads and information and communication divide with rural broadband are things we can’t control. But by being a Farm Bureau member and speaking up on these issues you do get some control. The recently passed and Farm Bureau-supported infrastructure bill is key to getting inputs to our farms while moving our products to our consumers and bringing our transit and information system into the 21st century.
Access to things like fertilizer and certain equipment parts are a big concern right now. It can feel like you don’t have control in this area. It is true that there are no easy answers or quick fixes but by being a Farm Bureau member you are supporting efforts in trying to help farmers get access to the inputs they need. Farm Bureau also supported the Shipping Act of 2021 to help the backlog of ships on the West Coast and to move exported products out. Farm Bureau also has pushed to lower tariffs on imported fertilizer to help lower the impacts on accessibility in the spring.
There has been lots of discussion about the supply chain and it will continue through the year. Farm Bureau will continue to be engaged in defining climate-smart farming practices and engaging our supply chain partners.
You can’t control aspects of the supply chain but you can control your support for an organization that has access to these partners.
This year I hope you embrace the fact that many things are out of our control as farmers. All we can do is our best to navigate our businesses so we can provide for our families and communities. Remember though that you can control your Farm Bureau membership. Don’t forget to renew it each year and get involved within your county Farm Bureau because that is something you can control and benefit from.
Wishing you a successful 2022!
Kevin Krentz was elected to the WFBF Board of Directors in 2012 to represent District 5, which includes Adams, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Waushara and Winnebago counties. In December of 2020, Kevin was elected as President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. Kevin and his family own a dairy farm in Berlin. He started his farming career when he purchased his father’s 60 cows in 1994. He grew the farm to 600 cows and 1,300 acres of crops.