Pro Farmer's Ag 'Person' of the Year

Published on: 13:25PM Dec 21, 2012

Chip Flory

From The Editor

December 21, 2012

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

I, for one, am glad the Mayans were wrong.

We selected our Ag Story and Ag Person of the year in this week's Pro Farmer newsletter. It's the last issue of the year and it was fun to reflect on a year that was heavy on news, but saw very little happen to fix issues that are slowing progress in the country. It was a weird year.

Here's our Person of the year announcement from this week's newsletter:

Pro Farmer’s 2012 Ag Person of the Year: Cattle Producers

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.

If we were forced to pick an individual for Ag Person of the Year, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be our pick. He was a calm voice and a source of certainty for the markets. His efforts to encourage economic expansion through consistently accommodative monetary policy (low interest rates) and through purchasing long-term treasuries (quantitative easing) have been sources of support for equity and commodity markets. And he did all this tap-dancing in a hotly contested election year without bowing to political pressure. We expect more of the same from Bernanke’s Fed in 2013. In 2014, potential changes to Fed policy could signal the end of the long-run bull in ag markets.

That's it for now...

Have a very merry Christmas and God Bless you all!

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