As the year winds down, Farm Futures is counting down the top 12 agriculture blogs and blog series our readers were most interested in in 2014, from hot ag issues to commentary on the ins-and-outs of farm life.
12. Rent to Revenue Percent Offers Clues for 2015. An analysis of cash rents as a percent of corn crop revenue may help you negotiate cash rents for 2015.
11. Will Lenders Still Love You With $3.50 Corn? It's certainly a fair question after a few years of heavy demand and higher prices. But there's good news – ag bankers generally say they will still lend to farm businesses next year, as long as there's a good risk management plan in place.
10. No Joke: USDA Seeks Submachine Guns. There's an attention-grabbing headline that may require a second look. Even harder to believe is that it's real – USDA did put out a solicitation for submachine guns in June. But what will they be used for?
9. Crop Insurance Nightmare. Have you been there, done that? One Indiana farmer shares his trouble with crop insurance claims – and getting his crop insurance questions answered.
8. EPA Keeps Burning Bridges. EPA's Waters of the U.S. proposal demanded its fair share of attention from farm country this year, prompting a swirl of concerns and a Midwestern visit from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. But ahead of the visit, industry groups were disappointed with McCarthy's characterizations of ag's concerns.
7. Another Bull's-eye on Farmland Owners. An otherwise quiet release of a December, 2013, GAO report put another EPA bull's-eye on farmland and ranch operators and owners, ag attorney Gary Baise says.
6. Young, Older Farmers May Exit in 2015. 2015 crop budgets will look much different than they have the past several years, leaving some farmers to wonder: Is it time to get out? Younger farmers may be out, too, but for a different reason.
5. Pricey Farm Bill Mired in Food Stamp Debate. Conservatives' view on the 2014 Farm Bill included concerns of "handouts to special interests and wasteful spending." There was another hot topic on that list – food stamps.
4. 5 Signs Your Farm Office Needs a Makeover. Are you still running Windows 95 and is there paperwork on your desk from 1987? If so, check out these suggestions to refresh your farm office.
3. OSHA's Grain Bin Gambit: Is It Legal? Allegations of OSHA inspections on farms that did not meet minimum employment standards to warrant inspection require a deeper look at the statute.
2. A Legal Case that Could Destroy American Agriculture. Here's a look back at the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load case, which could impact farmers in other regions like the Mississippi River Basin.
1. Water Police: EPA Coming to Your Farm. In this five-part series, blogger Gary Baise examines each aspect of the Waters of the U.S. proposal, from specific words used in the WOTUS definition to what others are saying about its impacts. Start at Water Police part one and follow the links at the end of the story to read the whole series.
A Farm Progress bonus: From everyday farm family happenings and in-depth consumer discussions to tearful tributes, Holly Spangler's "My Generation" was the most-visited blog on Farm Progress sites for 2014.