This past Friday afternoon (Oct. 4) I was at the Redwood Valley school campus, and while I was there I ran into a farmer I have gotten to know and appreciate in recent years.

That day as we stood in the hallway he talked to me about the upcoming harvest and the overall farming outlook as he sees it right now. Let’s just say he represents a lot of local farmers as he voiced what I would call a lack of optimism.

He shared his disappointment in a recent USDA report that, in the minds of many producers, significantly overinflated the acreage report, and as a result the price, especially for corn, took a huge dive.

I don’t follow the commodity prices all that closely, but I do know that producers this season are going to be hard pressed to make ends meet.

I am no expert when it comes to the crops in the field, but after living amongst the fields of beans and corn for more than four decades I can tell, at least from the outside, that there are not going to be any record yields this year.

In fact, I would venture to guess there will be some out there who have not seen low yields like they will experience this season for several years.

I drove past an overflow bunker the other day and thought to myself, “well, they probably won’t have any need for that.”

The farmer I talked to is bracing for the worst, but I also know deep down in the heart of every farmer I have ever known there is always that hope things will be better than anyone anticipated.

Yes, we all know the jokes about farmers and their complaints at the coffee shop, but when you really get to know a farmer you eventually learn something about all of them.

Even if this year does not result in a positive outcome, each of them will be looking forward to next year with the belief that things are going to get better. That is why they keep doing it, either that or they meet the definition of insanity.

I appreciate the chance to get to know farmers and to see their passion for what they do.

Honestly, I know a lot of people, myself included, who could learn a few things from those whose lives focus on feeding the world.

The next time you meet a farmer, just stop and shake their hand. Offer them sincere words of thanks.

If you do know a farmer, stop by and visit with them. Ask them how they are doing, and make sure they are being honest with you.

Farmers are facing challenging times, and, they, like all of us, need to know their hard work is truly appreciated by those of us who are benefitting from it.