Picking an individual for our person of the year was difficult this year. There just wasn’t enough "good stuff" that happened to find a standout among all the people that influence the ag industry. The list of contenders was long, but our in-house debate over candidates revealed many ag leaders suffer from "overreaching." These leaders are in their positions to represent the interest of the groups they lead, but that representation shouldn’t include consequences for others in the ag industry. Unfortunately, that happens too often. As a result, we selected a survivor for our 2012 Ag Person of the Year: U.S. cattle producers. It was a tough year!
Drought raised costs for cow-calf producers; high-priced calves and feed stressed cattle finishers; lean finely textured beef (LFTB or "pink slime") confusion hit a peak in March; and the fourth U.S. confirmation of BSE ("mad cow") hit in April. That’s a bucket-full of issues. Poultry, dairy and pork producers dealt with similar issues, but LFTB and BSE put cattle producers over the top this year. And while many cattle producers rallied against ethanol in 2012, it was their demand for DDGs that helped bring some ethanol facilities back on line when 2012-corn supplies were available.
Read more from Pro Farmer's Chip Flory.