Here at the Wilson Farm, we've just finished seeding wheat. Just when I heard my husband say "it's shaping up to be a pretty good year", below freezing temps showed up on the weather forecast for the coming week. We both sat there staring at "27 degrees" quietly thinking of the hundreds of acres of tiny plants that have just dared to poke from underneath the soil's protection that very well may get damaged in the coming days. With risk management tools and sound planning, you can take just about every variable out of farming, except the weather. That's simply in God's hands.
This afternoon my daughter and I watched the Kentucky Derby and we saw Glen Fullerton bet $100,000 to win on SuperSaver. The press went wild because his bet was SO enormous. I couldn't help but think of the gamble every farmer takes each spring. Across the nation, we farmers sit down with our lenders, talk of balance sheets and cash flows, and sign off on our operating loans. The stakes are high in agriculture these days. Gone are the days I've heard tales of when one good crop had farmers with enough cash on hand to buy the next year's inputs (seed, fuel, fertilizer, equipment, etc.) outright.
Even Glen Fullerton's bet is just a drop in the bucket when you look at the cost of inputs today, even on an average sized farm.
So here's hoping that this year the big bet we've placed to win in farming will have us smiling like Glen Fullerton when harvest is complete, but even if we don't have a big win, may we have the opportunity to stay in the race.