Chuck Denney-Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture)
Row crop fields are dormant now, but not much longer. As this warm, wet, not-quite-winter turns to spring, Tennessee farmers are looking for a repeat performance of last year.
Chris Anderson (Coffee County Producer)
“Farmers are really enthusiastic this year – coming off a year that was really a win-win.'
Terry Young (Cannon County Producer)
“2011 was great for us. We had great yields with great prices. Best prices we’ve ever seen.”
Cannon County farmer Terry Young was one of hundreds of producers at the recent Middle Tennessee Grain Conference in Manchester. Young has livestock and 700 acres of row crops. He says after farmers collect from a good year, they spread those dollars in their communities.
“A good year benefits the economy all the way around because that enables us to improve our farming operations. We’re able to upgrade our equipment.”
From a national perspective, these are good times for farmers. The USDA reports crop sales will top the 200 billion dollar mark for the first time in US history. There are several factors driving this – including global demand for US food and crops grown for biofuels.
Farmers have concerns about fuel and fertilizer costs, and then there’s weather, weeds and insects. But producers are still gearing up for an active year. It’s projected the country will produce 55 million acres of cotton, 75 million acres of soybeans and 93 million acres of corn.
Chuck Danehower (UT Extension)
“Corn projects out to be a pretty good crop, a pretty profitable crop. I think farmers are also looking at that and they’re projected to increase the corn acres nationwide probably somewhere a million-and-a-half, two million acres.”
UT Extension experts advise farmers to develop marketing plans based on these projections for all crops, and agents like Steve Harris want their producers to have the information they need to have a good year.
Steve Harris (UT Extension-Coffee County)
“More people are looking to grow corn and soybeans and looking for more ground to rent to produce more this coming year. So it’s an optimistic time.”
Is it ever, and while a lot can happen between spring planting and fall harvest, farmers go into the season with the expectation of good times ahead.
NOTE: UT Extension experts say about the only downside to this warm, wet winter is that there’s little cold to kill pests – and spring planting might be delayed because of muddy fields.