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Farmers and ranchers are halfway through the year and no one would have predicted the outcome we are in today.

Although the phrase “unprecedented challenges” was overused, it was appropriate and found its way into all forms of media.

Downward economic pressure has been found in all sectors. Growers watched with great interest a settlement announced by Bayer for Roundup and dicamba products including the ability to apply dicamba on soybean crops this year. If all goes as planned, there is a belief that future decisions on regulations will be based on credible science-based organizations to provide better insight on products that in many cases have to be developed years before actually entering the marketplace.

As farmers and ranchers strive to feed the world they must also have the tools to be efficient and that includes how to apply them knowing they are safe for themselves, their neighbors and consumers. Above all, growers have to be profitable.

Profitability also applies to the livestock sector, which was the one sector where there was some momentum heading into the year despite the impact of a beef processing plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas, nearly a year ago.

As the industry was starting to gather up some momentum from a strong national economy then COVID-19 hit and the bottom fell out with beef and pork processing plants facing staffing issues as employees were testing positive, which in some cases meant shutting down processing lines. Cattle producers are rightfully asking what needs to take place to ensure better price equity for themselves and consumers.

The dairy industry felt the double whammy when schools closed and inside dining at restaurants was shuttered. There are signs of promise with High Plains region states looking to open up schools for the fall semester and restaurants starting to improve capacity. After a turbulent second quarter companies are starting to add jobs and that is promising for the general economy.

The long-awaited United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement is now in place and will provide hopefully a positive jolt for the remainder of 2020.

Strive to learn

In this topsy-turvy economy staying on top of trends and improving efficiency is crucial.

High Plains Journal is offering grain and beef producers an opportunity to learn through several seminars and registrations are continuing to be accepted for the events.

Sorghum U/Wheat U is planned for Aug. 11 in the Kansas Star Event Center, Mulvane, Kansas, which is designed to provide practical learning opportunities for both crops from experts and producer panels. Admission is free but requires registration at www.hpj.com/suwu.

Cattle U and Trade Show is planned for July 29-30, in the United Wireless Arena, Dodge City, Kansas. Among the diverse speakers will be National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Beef Advocate of the Year Brandi Buzzard Frobose (who is highlighted elsewhere in this week’s edition), noted Iowa cattleman Dave Nichols and Midon Marketing Principal Danette King Amstein. Cattle U will also feature livestock experts and producers who will discuss real-world experiences. There is a registration fee and producers can obtain more information at www.cattleu.net.

The upside is that after a very difficult first six months there are signs that the second half may make some strides for improvement. That would be welcome news for the High Plains.

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

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