YORKTON - To have a great year in farming – at least as a grain producer – you need two things.
To start, Mother Nature has to cooperate with timely rains, warm temperatures without it getting so hot as to hurt the crop, and a fall where the weather allows the crop to be put in the bin in good condition.
For most of east central Saskatchewan, my home stomping grounds, that was generally the story of weather in 2022.
Then to have that really great year, you need good prices.
This might actually be a tougher condition to meet than the vagaries of weather. Prices might be strong for one crop, but very rarely are all crops valuable to the marketplace.
Well 2022 is the exception. When you hear of canola at $20 per bushel it is honestly gasp worthy news. It was not so many years ago farmers were tantalized by the thought prices might hit the $10 a bushel threshold.
With prices double that, and better varieties which have inched yields higher, it’s a good combination for sure.
And cereals are doing quite well too. When you hear $7-$8 per bushel for barley it’s a good year, unless you are a livestock producer who must deal with huge feed costs.
So this year I have had one farmer suggest the year is the best in his quarter century of running the farm, and another suggest in the life of a farmer they might see five really good years, and 2022 will certainly be among the best of those.
So farmers should have a good year financially, not that all is rosy of course, with high input costs and huge equipment costs, but those would exist had yields been poor and prices low too.
Typically, a good year for farmers is a good year for the local economies of area communities. It is a chance to upgrade half tons and tractors, or opt for a higher capacity combine – although such purchases will depend on availability too.
That should be good news for small town Saskatchewan, at least in the east central area, where even the boxes under the Christmas tree might be a little larger on area farms.
In terms of Christmas it is usually said that some cold weather and snow helps put people in the mood, and while the first week of November might be a tad too early, it certainly looks and feels like Santa’s time out there.
And of course the province is sending us some of our own money back in part so we see them less as a Grinch in our lives and as a little nudge in terms of who they want us to vote for – the party that gives us our money back – well $500 at least once.
While the motivation is more self-serving than the Saskatchewan Party will admit, it is at least money which will be spent for Christmas. It might just be keeping the heat and rent paid for some struggling against today’s high prices, but it will flow into the economy.
Led by the farm sector it could be a happy Xmas for business in spite of the pressures we feel on our budgets.