A visit to a couple of farms - one in Iowa and one in Louisiana - is a small sample to determine the mood in the country. Yet the farmers I got a chance to visit were pretty positive in a year where the rains have continued where drought was a problem last year; and in the Midwest where an early warmup gives hope that we'll get a decent longer season.
And the dealers I got to travel with told me the same thing; they've had a better year than they thought they might. Always good news.
But an interesting part of the trip was the reminder to me that the Midwest is not the ag center of the universe - although some of my Southern readers might think we thought so. You see, while we get all worked up about planting in April, heck that's nothing to a Texas grower who's been hard at it since February.
That's why we continue to focus on local agriculture at Farm Progress. And it challenges me when writing a national column to keep things relevant to the right time of the year.
While Charlie Vining and his sons Andy and Bryon are just wrapping up planting on their diversified operation near Sondheimer, La., Steve Schade was waiting for soil to warm up on his Walker, Iowa, operation. The Vinings were having a good planting season and Schade was hopeful about this year's planting season given what he's experienced the last two years.
And to keep it local, the story I'm doing on the Vining family won't appear across the country; only in the regions where their ag story fits (the South and Southeast); Schade's story will appear in the Midwest. You see, no matter how we try to slice it, farming does remain a local business.
Glad to hear the Southern planting season has been moving along fine; and for Midwest growers, have a good spring.
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