The new year is nearly upon us. In looking back this past year it is easy to see why it was a bumpy ride as a result of presidential decisions on trade wars to Mother Nature’s unending fits and temper tantrums that led to floods and droughts.

As we look to the distant and the not-so-distant past it lends some perspective. This week’s cover story by Field Editor Kylene Scott takes a look at past decades through the annals of the 70-year history of High Plains Journal. Inside readers will find a story about the past year by Web Editor Shauna Rumbaugh.

Both stories share great insight into the innovation and challenges producers faced whether it was 50 years ago or 50 weeks ago. In the past year we’ve dealt with floods, droughts, depressed prices and price shocks to our cattle and swine industries. Themes in those stories are not new and while we have found ways, at times, to lessen the burden, there is still no permanent safety switch.

Today’s farmers and ranchers, as with their predecessors, will continue to face similar stories—about good and bad times—and sometimes those times will occur in the same year. Yet for every storm cloud, whether from Mother Nature or trade embargoes or trade wars, there were opportunities to expand operations or consolidate expenses. Producers, then and now, have much to weigh as they plan ahead.

What we’ve learned from both well-written stories is that what lies ahead is always a big unknown and the words “risk management” have never been so important.

In comparing the stories from many years ago to less than a year ago, in all cases the individual producer is still making decisions that he thinks will best help him and his family. He would not want it any other way.

Both stories show readers love to read a good article or column. Sometimes those stories tug at our emotions and our thought processes, as column writers strive to do, At other times it is an offbeat story that captures the imagination of inquisitive minds. Other stories were about trends—some that stayed in place while others disappeared like a tumbleweed blowing across the High Plains.

As 2019 closes in a couple of days it reminds us that it is also the close of a decade. When 2009 closed and headed to 2010 our nation’s general economy was starting to emerge from the impact of the Great Recession. As this decade closes it is the nation’s agricultural economy that has dealt with some body blows but does show signs of emerging and heading the right direction.

Agriculture is a wonderful industry because while its numbers are large it continues to evolve because it has innovators who understand that they have the wherewithal to never give up.

Certainly 2019 reinforced it and we were glad to be here to report on it.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or dbergmeier@hpj.com.

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