Uncertainty the New Defining Factor on the Farm

With 2013 only a few days away, it appears that uncertainty and chaos are the new norm for agricultural life.

2012 was a remarkably volatile year, even for a volatile industry like agriculture. The year began with farmers hoping to take advantage of high corn prices and ample government support by planting the largest corn crop in recent history. Instead, a punishing drought crippled production nationwide.

In addition to weather-related uncertainty, farmers found themselves in an unfamiliar position of wielding almost no influence in a deeply divided Congress. Despite a number of attempts to pressure Congress into passing a new farm bill, the best efforts of a broad coalition of farm advocacy groups ultimately led to nothing. As a result, farmers are entering the new year with no sense of what to expect from the federal government.

These uncertainties are likely to remain a fixture in the United States. With climate change altering traditional weather patterns, many farmers have no idea what to expect climate-wise. In addition, with a declining rural population, farmers appear less and less influential in American politics, meaning that the current farm bill fight may become all too common in Washington.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer