As 2018 draws to a close, it is good to reflect on a difficult year for many farmers and see what lessons can be learned.
It is often said there are two certainties in life, death and taxes; in farming the two certainties are weather volatility and price volatility.
Many farmers live in hope of the perfect year – that year when the weather is perfect, and prices are good, but the reality is that such years are few and far between.
In any case, the weather or price which is favourable for one farmer may be unfavourable for another farmer. For example, when feed prices go up, it suits the tillage farmer but does not suit the livestock farmer.
This ‘perfect year’ mentality, perpetuating constant disappointment, is the root cause of the ‘moaning farmer’ reputation our industry has acquired over the years. Of course, when there is a crisis, the ‘moaning farmer’ interview on TV or social media feeds perfectly into the voracious appetite for negative news stories in media outlets.
This leads me to the first of what I feel are the four big lessons for farmers from 2018.