For anyone who follows the news regularly, these are strange times indeed. In the general economy, American companies have largely dug their way out of the Great Recession of a few years ago and are reporting record profits. Yet, despite having these great piles of cash on hand, most are foregoing hiring new employees, preferring to manage their operations with the employees they already have on hand.
In the agricultural market, things are a bit more normal, but only slightly. With commodity prices in near record territory, few grower-customers are complaining about rising crop input and service prices. But as we saw in 2008, this boom time can quickly become a bust if crop prices unexpectedly head south.
The bottom line is that in mid-2011, no one is quite sure what the new normal is anymore. Taking this to heart, the folks at the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) have decided to take a stab at defining the new state of the agricultural world. Between September 6 and 8 in Bloomington, MN, the association will hold its annual meeting using the theme “Navigating the New Normal.” Speakers at this event will include Tim Emslie, commodity research analyst for the Country Hedging subsidiary of CHS Inc., talking about agricultural exports, Dave King, associate provost for Oregon State University, speaking on the effective use of technology and Dr. Michael Swanson, chief ag economist for Wells Fargo, trying to pin down what the new normal is.
If you are interested in attending this informative meeting, please visit www.maca.org for more details. I’ve been going to this particular meeting for 10 years now and find it very helpful in wrapping my head around key industry trends and issues.
And I’m particularly looking forward to this year’s event. I would love to know what the new normal is and how it will help shape the agricultural world going forward. God knows I’m tired of guessing, just like everyone else!