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 2015, from hot ag issues to commentary on the ins-and-outs of farm life.
12. How do we market grain, Dad? My take on grain marketing in 2015. Until now, grain marketing for millennial farmers hasn’t been all that difficult. Prices fluctuated throughout the year, but typically stayed above break-even profitability. But in 2015, there were few windows of opportunity for profits.
11. Innovative ways to cut 2016 crop costs. Shrewd business owners were already looking at ways to curb costs for 2016 in June – actually, many before June. A trip to farmer Dave Brandt's farm offered a few suggestions.
10. How TPP impacts agriculture. On the morning of Oct. 5, trade ministers from the 12 TPP countries did the impossible and garnered a deal that the trade ministers could come behind.
9. Lower cash rents – but will it be enough? As farmers and landowners lock horns over cash rent, a farm manager says there can be a happy medium.
8. Guardians of the soil. Ray Gaesser, a Corning, Iowa, farmer, who grows corn and soybeans, shares the story of a 2010 rain storm that proved it's time to embrace climate-smart agriculture.
7. Two auctions, two very different results. Between tracking land and equipment auctions, it doesn't take long to see that in 2016, most farmers will be taking a hit on their balance sheets.
6. Des Moines Water Works insults farmers. The Des Moines Water Works claims that Iowa drainage districts are creating large nitrate concentrations in the Des Moines River water supply. This is a look back at the beginning of this developing 2015 story, and here's an update.
4. When does nitrate become a risk for humans? Current limits for nitrate in drinking water may not be justified by science. Ag attorney Gary Baise explains.
3. Mighty machines on perilous slopes. Like a scene out of Star Wars, giant machines crawled across the hills of Eastern Washington, eating up wheat along perilously steep 30-degree hillsides. That was the scene at the August Farm Financial Standards Council meeting held near the Palouse, one of the most scenic and iconic agricultural regions in the world.
2. Blockbuster defeat for agriculture. On Jan. 14, 2015, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that dairy manure is a "solid waste," like garbage, under EPA's Resource Conservation Recovery Act. And that was a big deal for animal and tillage agriculture.
1. USDA gets horse whipped over soring. A court of appeals says USDA's soring regulation is unlawful – but as always, there's more to the story.