Ag Instructor Vic Martin: Cooperating For Agriculture

Great Bend Tribune
Published January 21, 2018

Before today’s topic a brief update is in order.  The Drought Monitor Index remains essentially unchanged since last week.  The scant moisture received did little to alleviate dry conditions.  And the strong winds further exacerbate the dry conditions.  Forecasters see a deepening La Nina so little relief is in sight.  Finally, those that subscribe to the theory that weather patterns circle the Earth in certain patterns have indicated that the return pattern is about fifty days give or take.   If true, the extreme cold of early January should return about mid-February.  Time will tell.

If you have paid attention to Alicia Boor’s columns over the last few weeks; listened to farm broadcasts; or paid attention to agriculture on social media; you will notice meetings, lots of meetings.  Many are sponsored by K-State and/or other public agencies.  Corn and grain sorghum schools, dicamba management, risk management, wheat updates, and many other topics in crop and livestock agriculture.  Also many private groups and organizations are covering similar topics as is the agribusiness sector.  Many of these meetings are free or at minimal cost with costs often defrayed by competing members of the agribusiness community.  These types of meetings are probably more common in the agricultural community than any other type of industry.  Have you ever wondered why?

In economic terms, farmers and ranchers are in many ways involved in what is termed perfect competition.  There is no benefit in hiding information from other producers.  For the most part, producers are termed price takers as they have no real ability to influence the price.  They can take it or leave it.  So when one member benefits all benefit.  Another aspect is the shared sense of community members of the agricultural industry have.  If you pay attention you will regularly see articles where farmers and ranchers come together to help each other in times of crisis or tragedy.  Farmers and ranchers further realize they need to work together as they are a small percentage of the total population and it is vital for them to work together so as to insure society understands who they are, what they do, why they do it, and that they are stewards of land and water.  To accomplish this they must be united in their message and how they conduct business.  And there is one other reason.

Agriculture is very aware of the need to produce the next generation of farmers and ranchers.  The established and older generation is committed to spending time and money to insure the survival of the industry, their way of life, and the family farm.  Even the USDA is involved with programs to help young farmers and ranchers become established.  The Kansas Farm Bureau this weekend held its annual Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Manhattan.  The title describes exactly what the conference is and it is designed to help these individuals survive and thrive.  The local Barton County Farm Bureau to assist, sponsors a Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter at Barton Community College, investing their time and resources to help these young people.  They even sponsor the attendance of some members to the conference mention in this paragraph.

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