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A farmer’s wish list for 2017

A NEW PLANTER? If it’s not in the cards and not even realistic for your 2017 wish list, maybe you better get out the wrenches and work on the planter you have!
It doesn’t hurt to look toward better times, right?

The new year is nearly here, bringing plenty of hope and promise. If you had a wish list of things you want to see happen in 2017, what 10 things would top it?

Compare your list to this one. Maybe your wishes will come true. But it only works if you are somewhat realistic with your list!

1. No one dies in a grain-related tragedy all year. If you thought the top choice would relate to more income, don’t worry — it’s not far behind. But all the money in the world doesn’t help if someone you love dies in a grain bin or grain transport vehicle accident.

2. Corn prices rise to $4.50 per bushel, and not because there is a drought. Remember, we said realistic. Wishing for a return to $7 corn doesn’t qualify as realistic in most ag economists' books. Hoping for $4.50 per bushel might be stretching it. And if it takes a drought to get to $4.50, it might not be worth it — especially if the drought is on your farm!

3. No breakdowns during planting — and you don’t get to buy a new planter to make this come true. I get accused of being a pessimist rather regularly. A pessimist would say even a new planter doesn't guarantee no breakdowns. An optimist would say, "It sure would up the odds of less trouble!"

4. Soybean prices reach $12 per bushel. A lot of variables will determine if this is realistic or not, ag economists say. Right now, soybeans look like the best economic choice. The optimist would say you stand to make more money with soybeans. The pessimistic would say you will just lose less per acre than with corn. The realist would settle for breakeven, counting all costs.

5. Guts to pull the trigger and sell. Some of you may put this on your wish list: If corn reaches $4.50 per bushel and/or soybeans reach $12, I hope I’m smart enough to sell some!

6. A neighboring 80 acres comes up for sale, and you buy it for $4,000 per acre. OK, we said realistic. If you get it for $4,000 per acre, it may only be good for hunting squirrels and deer. Land prices might soften, but not that much.

7. A neighboring 80 acres comes up for sale, and you can buy it for $7,500 per acre. You’re getting warmer. You can likely do this in some parts of Indiana, even if it’s good land, but it's still not likely everywhere.

8. My landowner calls and says he will give me back $50 per acre on my cash rent. This is a wish list, not a dream list! Purdue University ag economists insist land rents will average lower in 2017, but only by maybe 5% or less.

9. Your daughter marries a dairy farmer, and they live happily ever after. Have you seen the price of milk lately? This would be proof that love is stronger than money, because money is in tight supply on dairy farms. Here’s wishing for higher prices for milk so dairy producers can survive, and here’s hoping that's a realistic wish!

10. The Legislature provides money to replace bridges, and they start with the one-lane bridge near you. Can’t get your planter through the bridge? The Legislature is certainly going to address this issue, but you might not want to give up your alternate route just yet.

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