Staying up-to-date and positive: Speakers hope to alleviate stress, concerns at Ag Outlook event
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Staying up-to-date and positive: Speakers hope to alleviate stress, concerns at Ag Outlook event

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Bryce Anderson

Bryce Anderson, Telvent DTN meteorologist estimates that U.S. farmers may have to harvest 300-400 million bushels of 2014 U.S. corn in the spring because of the early winter.

With the weather and markets on every farmer’s mind, South Dakota Soybean’s Ag Outlook is set to feature three speakers all keen on answering the key question for next year: can this get any worse?

Thursday, Dec. 5, South Dakota Soybean will host three well-known speakers at the organization’s annual Ag Outlook convention in Sioux Falls. Bryce Anderson, DTN’s senior ag meteorologist, Tom Steever, Brownfield Ag News radio network host, and Bob Farmer, a humorous storyteller from Farmers’ Almanac, will each speak throughout the day.

Starting with Anderson at 10:30 a.m., the DTN ag legend said he hopes to give everyone a detailed outlook for the weather over the next few months, helping them prepare to move into the next growing season.

“With the kind of year that it was, there is going to be a lot of interest in how things develop for the next three to six months,” he said.

As a quick preview into what he hopes to discuss, Anderson said that the good news for farmers is that December should be a dryer and warmer month than we’re used to in South Dakota, but March onwards is projecting to be another cool spring on the prairie.

“There is no El Nino or La Nina likely to influence the overall winter weather pattern,” he said. “Because of that, it’s going to be a winter where intermittent developments drive our weather more.”

Overall, Anderson expects December to average a few degrees warmer with the rest of the winter staying around average with some cooler days.

“Every winter season and every season has its own character,” he said.

The other serious weather concern, Anderson pointed out, is that there hasn’t been a place for water to recede and there most likely won’t be until next spring. He expects the next growing season to be more forgiving as it relates to precipitation, but he said that farmers should expect delays on planting next year, as they will most likely be dealing with leftover winter flooding.

“It’s simply a matter of waiting to see how things evolve,” he said.

Later on Thursday, Farmer will update producers on the latest Farmers’ Almanac and what to expect. His talk is at 1 p.m., but he will also be speaking during the women’s program in the morning.

Farmer said he will share a bit of information on how the Farmers’s Almanac culminates data for weather and astronomical predictions which he called “the backbone of the Almanac.”

Aside from the details, Farmer said keeping things light and sharing funny stories from his time around the Midwest is the only way to help producers through troubling times.

“Maybe a little motivation thrown in at the end,” he said. “I go and feel the audience out.”

For those looking for copies of the almanac, Farmer said he plans on bringing a handful and maybe handing them out as door prizes for those in attendance.

Last on the list, Steever will deliver his talk titled: “Praise for Productivity” at 3 p.m. Thursday. Steever, who has been with Brownfield for 17 years and has worked with South Dakota Soybean for many years, said he just wants to give praise for farmers that aren’t getting enough nowadays.

“I like to talk about how productive farmers are and how that’s a benefit to everyone they serve,” he said. “I don’t get too heavily into a serious subject, so a lot of it is pretty light and humorous.”

The goal of the talk, besides praising farmers, is to “get them off subject for a bit,” Steever said. He said he hopes that farmers can come to the talk and laugh a bit while forgetting the troubles they will inevitably discuss the rest of the day.

“Hopefully you’re going to have some fun,” he said.

While Steever, Anderson and Farmer look to educate and entertain, all three of them acknowledged the hardships farmers have gone through over the last two years by saying there is no right answer on how to stay positive.

Commiserating with fellow producers at Ag Outlook should help, Steever said, while attending his talk could even make some producers forget the troubles for a few minutes. Owning a farm 15 miles outside of Sioux Falls, Steever said he realizes just how hard it is out there for producers.

Farmer said that staying positive is just what the Farmers’ Almanac tries to do each and every day, regardless of circumstance. The key though, he said, is patience.

“Everything is good and it’s going to get better,” he said.

Anderson, on the other hand, said staying positive is a side effect of putting the most effort he can into providing correct and helpful information for farmers.

“I make an effort every day to offer anybody in agriculture the kind of weather information that gives perspective on conditions that are useful in their (lives),” he said. “I just try to keep that in mind and try to offer information that is not only interesting but is also presented in such a way that someone can (help other producers afterward).”

Reach Reporter Jager Robinson at 605-335-7300, email jager.robinson@lee.net or follow on Twitter @Jager_Robinson.

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