College News

Ag Instructor Vic Martin: New Year Ag Stories

Great Bend Tribune
Published January 2, 2022

This is being written before the release of the Thursday Drought Monitor Report.  However, we are listed as abnormally dry the past week and that hasn’t changed and precipitation chances are spotty at best. The six to ten-day outlook (January 2 to 6) indicates we are predicted to have normal temperatures and a 40% to 50% chance of below normal precipitation (which isn’t much). The eight to fourteen-day outlook (January 4 to 10) indicates normal to below normal temperatures and a 30% to 40% chance of below normal precipitation.  Not a good way to start the new year.  As 2022 is here, what are the likely big stories for the upcoming year. 

  • As in 2021, the weather.  The La Nina is bringing significant precipitation to much of the western U.S. However, for Kansas and much of the Great Plains it’s bringing dry conditions.  And not to forget we have been and will likely continue to deal with weather extremes such as what happened recently in the Kentucky area and here the week before Christmas.  And for producers, the weather in South America, Australia, and parts of Europe and Asia greatly impacts farm incomes in the U.S. and Kansas.
  • Higher prices for inputs and commodities producers are selling.  Just as in the last half of 2021, increased input costs are putting a crimp in producer plans for 2022 in spite of projected record income for 2021.  Combine input prices with world grain stocks and depending on weather a decrease in sale prices, it will be a challenging year.  And not all producers have benefitted from higher sale prices, especially in the meat and poultry industry.  While prices, especially for beef are high at the store, beef producers are not seeing the benefit of these prices when they sell.
  • And we can’t forget all the tensions and turmoil globally.  Russian, Iran, China, North Korea are all potential conflict sites with the U.S., the U.K. and the European Union.  The potential conflicts are territorial, human rights, energy production, and political. 
  • Of course COVID factors in across a variety of sectors including transportation, production and supply chain issues, travel and leisure (especially the restaurant industry), and on and on.
  • Inflation, separate from increased prices will influence credit lines for producers and impact our ability to export foodstuffs as it effects the value of the dollar.
  • Finally, politics are in play nationally with the midterm elections in the House and Senate.  For Kansas, we are electing statewide offices, especially Governor, and Kansas House members.  The result will be interesting sessions at both levels and difficulty nationally getting anything done, especially nationally, once summer hits.

Happy New Year one and all.