Normally at this time of year, many people look forward to the calendar turning over. This gives them the chance to put the bad things that might have happened over the previous 12 months aside and hope for better things in the year ahead.
But I’m betting that in the agricultural community, this won’t be the prevailing feeling come midnight December 31. Unlike the rest of the economic world, agriculture had one of its best years ever in 2011, and most participants would likely hope that the good fortunes of this year never fade away.
Let’s consider the year in agriculture for a moment. Even with a slow start to the spring season, grower-customers in most of the country got all their crops in the ground in time to see near record harvests come fall (except in Indiana and Ohio, where corn production lagged for the entire year). Come year end, USDA estimates that growers in the U.S. had profits somewhere north of $100 billion, with crop sales topping the $200-billion mark.
Naturally, this excess of cash seemingly flowed into the coffers of ag retailers. According to statistics from our CropLife 100 survey, the nation’s top dealerships and cooperatives had crop input/service sales in excess of $24 billion in 2011, up a healthy 17% from 2010.
So when grower-customers and ag retailers watch that big silver ball in Times Square drop later this week, I’m certain that the majority of them will be more than a little sad to see the prosperity of 2011 coming to an end. But hopefully, 2012 will continue this run of joy and happiness for our marketplace.
Happy New Year, everyone, from all of us here at CropLife!