20 December 2009 - What We Have Learned from 2009

As we approach the end of 2009, with a 35% drop in net farm income and major price challenges to hog and dairy producers, I guess most of us would say "Good riddance, let's look forward to a better 2010." Well, my topic this week comes from a headline on the cover of the December issue of Dairy Herd Management magazine. The headline. . . "What we have learned from 2009".

The article quotes six dairy farmers around the country, talking about the lessons they learned in a very challenging year that is finally coming to an end. Let me share some of what they had to say:

Gale Moser, Moser Dairy, Whitney, ID - "Don't spend it before you make it."

Brad and Brice Scott, Scott Brothers Dairy, San Jacinto, CA., said
"Be thankful for what you have."

Liz Doornik, Jon-De Farms, Baldwin, WI - "Be open and honest."

Ted Boersma and T.J. Curtis, Forget-Me-Not Farm, Cimarron, KS - "Don't forget what's really important."

James Davis, Ron and Lydia Lewis, TA-RO-LEE Holsteins, Cowchilla, CA said "Out of every negative comes a positive."

And finally, the sixth response to the question. Ryan Anglin, Triple A Farms in Bentonville, AR. said "Don't forget your family." He said. . . "Family is always important, but in times like these, it becomes even more important. Family is the only support you really have. But employee loyalty has also played a role in our business surviving this year. Our employees have stuck by us; they've gone without raises and have been truly an asset getting through this year."

Then looking to the future he said "I will look at forward-contracting my milk and grain to eliminate some of the ups and downs of the price roller coaster."

What I liked most about this story is the positive tone. Those six dairy farmers have gone through the toughest year the industry has experienced in 50 years and yet, I didn't hear any of them say "feel sorry for me". Instead, I heard them say "we learned something and hopefully it will make us better business people in 2010" and none of them lost sight of what is truly important...family and a positive mind-set. Now, my wish for them and all producers in 2010 is prices that will be higher than the cost of production.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.