Reversal of fortune in 2012

Some people outside agriculture seem to have the idea that farmers and ranchers agree on everything. The reality is far different. Apart from basic philosophical differences among producers, weather and economic conditions that favor some operators almost always hurt others.

A perfect example is the price of corn. The huge rise in corn prices this summer put a lot of money in the pockets of farmers who grow the crop (and, of course, who  had an average or better crop.) But high corn prices took a lot of money from the pockets of producers who feed corn to livestock.

My cover story for the Nov. 26 issue of Agweek looks at what’s turned out to be a year of contrast for area livestock producers. They began the year with so much cause for optimism. But  the drought, which ravaged hayfields and pastures and sent corn prices soaring, changed things in a hurry.

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