For some reason The Progressive Farmer began showing up in my mailbox a few months ago. I'm not a farmer (but live in farming community) and I've never subscribed, but I find some articles interesting and helpful to a rural homeowner. Besides, it helps me better understand some of the issues facing my neighbors.
The October issue featured a story, "Confidence High Among Ag Business," that caught my eye. Perhaps because the MSM seems to like bad economic news better than good, this story resonated with my gut feeling that things really are getting better... just wish it would do so a bit quicker. Farmers' confidence can be inflated or deflated based on all sorts of things ranging from the weather (both at their farm and around the globe) to general economic conditions. While confidence varies by ag sector and by region, the upbeat feeling is a good harbinger for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months.
Among the findings of the Ag Confidence Index is that 26% of ag businesses expect sales to increase over the next year while 61% think sales will remain stable and only 13% expect a decline. Other questions focused on prospects for the coming year. Ninety-one percent thought things would stay the same (55%) or improve (36%). Only 9% forecast worsening prospects.
Other interesting articles in the October issue discussed no-till and minimum tillage conservation practices that are making great strides at cutting soil erosion caused by both water and wind. In the lower 48 states, it is estimated that cropland erosion dropped 43% between 1982 and 2007. That's good news not only for our fields but also for streams and rivers, our air quality, and for conservation of water resources.
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