Anyone tied to agriculture understands that 2009 was a rough year for farmers. They caught fire from all directions, be in the green scene or animal rights advocates. One of agriculture’s biggest enemies during 2009, however, was the very source of its power: nature.
Illinois agriculture faced a rough year. Rain came at all the wrong times, and unsteady temperatures created strange growing seasons. Stalks were shorter, harvest was longer, and it was anything but an ideal growing year.
In fact, as early as September of 2009, 88 Illinois counties were declared “agricultural disaster areas” by the USDA. As harvest extended into laste 2009, and early 2010 in some cases, more counties were added. While harvest was definitely hard on every farmer I know, the hardship didn’t hit home until a neighboring county, Iroquois County, was added to the list.
The fact of the matter seems to be this: regardless of how popular (or unpopular) farmers are, they will always have uncertainty to face. Even as newer adversaries fight against agriculture, farmers still have to buckle down to face the same old foes. Drought, or flood, or fire, or hail, or tornado, or wildlife, or even snow…they don’t wait.
Weather and wildlife won’t cut farmers a break just because they have another threat to worry about. Because of this, farmers need more support from the rural community than ever. 2009 was a hard year on farmers. I say we devote 2010 to showing how much we truly appreciate them. Everyone can use a little love now and then…especially the hardest working people in America.