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High Attendance, Measured Optimism at Commodity Classic

Some farmers and ag businesses remain positive

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- If you gauge this year’s Commodity Classic by the attendance of nearly 9,400, America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show sure seems like another successful event.

At times, walking the aisles, watching the ‘full house’ attendance at the Ag Connect stage that Successful Farming helps operate and visiting with farmers from around the country and world, it gives the feeling that agriculture is in a boom stage.

Even some seed and grain equipment dealers were reporting very strong business results, so far this year.

The sentiment at this year’s winter convention seems to be measured but optimistic.

2017 could be a make or break year for some farmers, but most believe they will be planting corn again in 2018.

Scott Wettstein, Lidgerwood, North Dakota says that according to the stats given here at the Commodity Classic, farmers are all optimistic about the future of agriculture.

“After the Presidential election and last year’s good crop, apparently has something to do with that. Personally, I’m optimistic that we are going to raise another nice crop like last year,” Wettstein says. “I’ve been saying this for three years, but I’m thinking there is going to be another opportunity to sell corn above breakeven.You have to be ready to jump on that.”

Wettstein adds, “This low price environment is pushing us back to old-school farming. We have to do everything right. You can’t just plant it and go to the lake.”
I’m optimistic that we will make it through another year. it’s not going to be easy. You’re not going to be able to plant the crop and forget about it.”

Bob Huttes, a Roca, Nebraska, farmer that grows corn and soybeans, says while he remains an optimist, he senses an uneasiness amongst farmers at this year’s Commodity Classic.

“Things are not good out there in farm country. Everyone that I know have cashflows that are suffering. It’s about as bad as I’ve ever seen it. I have farmed through some difficult livestock times, but we made it through somehow. And I’m hopeful for the future of agriculture,” Huttes says.

However, the southeast Nebraska farmer admitted that his operation just bought another farm and is investing in technology, for the first time.

“We’re late innovators. We’re adopting the global positioning systems into our tractors with auto steer. This is all happening as one generation of our family is handing the operation to the next generation,” Huttes says.

Mark Westfall, a Woodstock, Ohio, farmer says that he has always noticed in his career that challenging economies can be looked at with optimism.

“There is more opportunity in tough times than there is good times, if you are financially solid. During those good times, everybody is bidding against you to buy anything and everything,” Westfall says.

Wasteful adds, “I’ve been farming for 47 years, and our biggest strides forward have been in really difficult times."

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