Supply chain issues critical to agriculture – February 2022
Welcome to 2022! After the past couple of years, I think most people are scaling back their expectations for the coming year. We’ve been reminded that just because we think something will be the way we want, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen that way.
One of the things which occurs right at the beginning of every year is the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Meeting. Last year’s 2021 Annual Meeting was held virtually and considering we’ve never done it before it went pretty well. Of course, most of the people who participated missed the face-to-face interaction that occurs at these meetings, so it was not a big surprise that there was a lot of impetus to hold this year’s meeting in person. Atlanta, Georgia was the host and for some of you who have been around for a while, you may remember the last Atlanta meeting saw winter hit the city and snow and rain on the delegate body. People who were in their hotels were stuck there. People who ran the hotels were stuck there too and food was starting to get in short supply before things opened up.
Perhaps this was a good practice round for the beginning of the COVID 19 issues. Supply chain issues were a big topic of discussion at this annual meeting with people talking about lack of parts, fertilizer prices and lack of supply and many other issues. Getting essential items in a timely basis is not something we’ve experienced for some time here in the U.S. One hears about these issues occurring in other countries in the world, but not in the U.S. The big question is whether this will be the new normal or if it is an anomaly.
AFBF had a lot of good programs during the meeting. One of the big efforts is gearing up for the WOTUS rewrite and there were programs on the outlook for inflation in our future as well as economic outlooks for livestock and crops.
President Biden sent prerecorded comments and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed the audience and stressed the efforts of this Administration to support agriculture through climate smart initiatives and some of the proposed programs in the Build Back Better initiative. The discussion on long term chances for inflation led to talk about the increased spending being proposed and how that might lend itself to inflationary pressures so once again we have to wait and see what eventually occurs in Congress.
AFBF did provide an opportunity for members to join some of the programs through a virtual option so hopefully some of you were able to do that, and I certainly encourage everyone to take advantage of that opportunity if they don’t think they can spend the time to attend the in-person meeting.
All-in-all 2022 does look to be providing agriculture with some challenges. Some of those challenges will need member involvement to help convey the message of how important agriculture is to the supply chain.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President