It’s hard to believe another year has flown past. A lot has happened in the agriculture world, and I’d like to take the time to reflect on a few of my top favorite stories from 2019.
• The resiliency of the American farmer. This year I wrote countless stories about the struggles farmers faced with planting and harvest. The weather was challenging, to say the least. Trade wars and low commodity prices didn’t help. But thanks to hardworking farmers and wonderful technology, many farmers made it through another year.
• U.S. Department of Agriculture passes new hemp program. Farmers have been trying to grow industrial hemp in the United States for some time. Although the framework has a lot of room for improvement, it’s exciting to see the country move forward with regulating hemp.
• Heroes celebrated at the Indiana State Fair. This year’s theme was “Heroes in the Heartland.” From teachers and farmers, to first responders and Army veterans, there are heroes all around us. It’s always important to be grateful for the men and women who serve our communities.
• Soy straw wins innovation competition. The Student Soybean Innovation Competition, funded by the Indiana Soybean Checkoff, is one of the highlights of my year. This year a group of intelligent students created a biodegradable straw made out of soy products.
• Shining the spotlight on mental health. This year AgrIInstitute hosted a new event: Healing the Heartland, a rural mental health symposium. Farmers shared stories about their battles with depression, anxiety and suicide. Speakers shared messages of hope and ways to cope with hard times on the farm. This was a life-changing event to attend.