What’s The Big Deal?

Published on: 11:22AM Nov 06, 2008

Top Producer is preparing to celebrate its 25th Anniversary in January 2009. With any milestone of this magnitude, it’s good to look back and learn from the lessons of the past and it’s often humbling to realize the impact those events still have today.

Look to the December issue of Top Producer to relive some of the biggest moments in agriculture of the past 25 years. In January, we’ll look into the crystal ball and predict some of the biggest issues, trends and people that will move agriculture in the next 25 years.

What do you think? What or who has had the biggest impact on your farm?

For now, think back about the last 25 years of agriculture and the course of globalization and how those two trends have converged to create a new world order of food production. Think about the promise of global positioning systems when they were introduced to the agricultural market in the early 1990s and how we are now seeing widespread adoption of this technology in all agriculture sectors.

Or maybe you think the biggest impact on the world of ag is the fall of communism in the late 80s and early 90s.

What about the future? How will a Barack Obama presidency affect your business? Will cellulosic ethanol be the wave of the future, or will we find other untapped resources to end our dependence on foreign oil? Will Russia be an enemy or a friend and a market for U.S. products?

Give us your thoughts.

Here’s just small sampling of the events that have impacted agriculture in the last 25 years, and still have an impact today.
  • The Payment In Kind Program (PIK) of 1983 lives on today in the rallying cry of farm program opponents. “Farmers get paid for not producing anything,” protest the naysayers stuck in the 80s.
  • The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) came on the scene in 1984 and has been hailed by conservationists and pheasant hunters ever since. Now, record-high commodity prices have cut into the set aside program and leave many to question the future prosperity of the program.
  • The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and took The Soviet Union down with it two years later. 
  • The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect Jan. 1, 1994.
  • April 16, 1996, Oprah swears off hamburgers on her nationally syndicated talk show, despite the fact BSE had not been found in the U.S. This lays the groundwork to be sued by Texas cattle feeder Paul Engler in a highly-publicized suit. 
  • Roundup Ready Cotton was introduced to the market in 1997.
  • Two days before Christmas 2003, BSE was discovered in the Washington state, and fears spread when meat from infected culled dairy cows potentially makes its way into Northwest grocery stores.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast and wreaking havoc on the nation’s river transportation system.

  • The Midwest suffered its second 500-year flood in 15 years in June of 2008.
What say you? Leave your views below, or email them to Top Producer Editor Greg Vincent at [email protected].