By Paul Olson
The summer of 2021 has proven to be a year of volatility from weather, markets and in some cases finding market access. It makes a farmer flinch.
In mid-July a tornado did extensive damage to our largest marketing center which is located in Manchester, Iowa, and two weeks later straight-line winds from a funnel cloud damaged another one at Brandon, Wisconsin. Thankfully, no one was injured in either incident.
I would personally like to thank everyone who was involved in the massive clean-up effort–from those of you who brought in equipment, to everyone who helped with all the tedious hand work that is involved in cleaning up such a mess. All of us at National Farmers are truly grateful.
Words cannot describe what not only our members, but also what all farmers and ranchers are enduring in the western third of our country.
It’s heartbreaking to see what the drought, wild fires and smoke are doing to the livelihood of these hard-working people, and there appears to be no end in sight. Production agriculture continues to become more difficult. There is way too much risk and not enough reward.
Market access continues to be a problem in parts of the country for our dairy department. Consolidation and transportation costs are having a negative effect on how we do business on a daily basis. The continuing loss of family dairy farms is making it extremely difficult to set up efficient truck routes in most areas.
Every year there appears to be fewer buyers and many processors today prefer to only deal with single-farm tanker loads from large dairies. As each day goes by, we are getting closer to losing our nation’s once vibrant dairy industry. It is following the same blueprint as the hog and poultry industries.
I recall attending countless NFO meetings from the late 60’s to today. One thing that always sticks out in my mind is how forward-thinking early leaders predicted what would happen to our production agriculture if farmers did not organize. Everyone of us has witnessed first hand the power of farmers working together. If only they would.
National Farmers marketing programs and services bode well in today’s marketplace. These last couple of year’s have truly tested us all. From COVID-19, to cyber attacks, to extreme weather conditions, we continue to grow. Both our livestock and grain departments are enjoying steady growth. Even our dairy department is growing in the areas where markets are available.
I hope you enjoy reading the positive stories in National Farmers magazine. They are true testimonials to the hard work of our staff and their great relationships with our wonderful members.
Until next time — Be safe.