For the production agriculture industry 2016 was a year characterized by volatility in both the weather and the markets that left producers hoping for a better 2017. Jerry Armstrong is a rancher in Lee County.
“We had rainfall. Of course we had too much rainfall. It was tough in the early part of the year because it was so wet, so long. We had some flooding, flood damage that I’m not sure that’s not worse than the drought. Personally for us it was. We had some considerable damage that was pretty costly to repair.”
Armstrong said that the cattle market continued to go down in 2016.
“It makes it tough on the stocker and feed lot end of the industry just from the aspect that the market is going down all the time and you’re a margin operator. The cow-calf man, he’s seen the value of that calf go from fourteen or fifteen hundred dollars a couple of years ago to six or seven hundred dollars this year.”
And commodity prices for farmers weren’t any better.
“The corn farmer has gone from eight dollar corn a few years ago to three and a half to three-twenty this year. It’s been a pretty tough year but I think we’ve all managed to figure out a way to survive and make it work and hopefully we’ll see better times.”
But there’s that little touch of optimism that it takes to go on trying to make a living in production agriculture.