My Top 8 Ag Wish List for 2022, By Minnesota Pork Producer Wanda Patsche

As 2021 winds down, it’s time to think of next year–thus, My Top 8 Wish List for 2022.

1. Farming

This is a big topic. I know I can’t do it justice but I will try to sum up a few of my thoughts and wishes.

a, 2021 taught us all a lot of lessons. Living in a D3 drought with so little rain, our brains told us we would be collecting insurance proceeds because there was no way our corn and soybeans could grow with so little rain.

Boy, were we wrong.

Even though our eyes saw a crop that didn’t look too bad, our brains couldn’t comprehend that our crops were growing. I have to attribute our good yields to seed technology and divine intervention. My wish is for a year of average weather.

b. My hope for our pigs is good health. We want our pigs to be healthy and we do what we can to ensure that. Believe me, some days it’s easier said than done. My wish list for next year is to have a better handle for the PRRS virus. We vaccinate for PRRS but as with viruses, it can mutate. We need better solutions.

c. Farming is a business as well as a way of life. All farmers want is a fair price. People wonder why I don’t like rollercoasters–it’s because we live on one all the time (or it seems)!

d. And one more thing – my hope for 2021 is life without feeling like a constant punching bag. It seems we are always dodging the next obstacle and our opponents are relentless.

Corn Harvest
Corn Harvest view from the Combine

2. Inflation and Farm Costs

Inflation hurts us. We weren’t prepared for it even though it didn’t surprise many of our nation’s economists. With fertilizer costs more than double (that is if you can buy it), increases in land rents, land costs, machinery costs, crop protection it makes it hard to plan or adapt to the new inflationary ag economics. In hindsight, we are thankful for the amount of pig manure we used as fertilizer.

My wishlist is for price input stabilization and back to more normal levels. This is part of the punching bag and rollercoaster I just mentioned above.

3. Sharing our Story

Let’s get back to connecting with people and tell our ag story. Zoom is and has been a valuable tool, but person-to-person connections are so important. We need to look at each other in the eyes and have a conversation listening and talking with each other. I hope we continue to see more live events. It gives us our “humanness” back. We have such a great story to tell and we need to tell it by showing what we are doing to care for our animals and the environment.

It’s more important than ever.

Meet a farmer
Meet a Farmer

4, COVID-19

I can’t ignore the elephant in the room even though I would love to. I truly hope we can put some of this behind us. I don’t think COVID will ever go away permanently but hopeful we have effective treatments going forward. And I am SO SICK of the polarization and politicization.

5. Mental Health

We are seeing progress in destigmatizing mental health in rural America. It’s a long time coming and I am so happy to see help available to those that need it. No question COVID-19 propelled the awareness of mental health needs. It was heartbreaking to see us all shutdown which didn’t allow the normal conversations farmers had with each other.

No doubt that we need to continue talking and providing support. It’s okay to not be okay. But more important, it’s okay to talk about it and help where we can. Lend a hand and ear and reach out for professional help if needed. You are worth it.

6. Politics

Do I really have to go there? All I am going to say is we as citizens need to speak up and not be complacent. We can no longer just ignore and mumble to ourselves or others about how government policies/laws are lacking or are wrong. Connect with your congressman and let them know how policies affect you or thank them for their efforts. J You can call, email or visit with them.

Just do it.

7. Truth

Yes, my wish is for truth. I didn’t realize how hard truth is. Truth in the news specifically. I no longer listen/watch any cable news channel. I have a few people/sources that I feel try really hard to tell the straight damn truth. No spin. Leave it up to me to make up my own mind.

8. Non-Ag Wish List

I wish for kindness. I wish for all of us to be non-judgemental. I wish for peace. I wish for calmness. I wish for respect. Help those you know and those you don’t know. This is God’s wish for all of us. Reach out with your hand and help make this world a better place to live.

All of us.