Since the new year is close at hand, it's time to polish up some new, creative ways to address the future.

That's just what happened at last month's National Agricultural Bankers Conference. That group challenged the biggest brains of ag banking to peer into the future and tell what they expect by 2025. A special panel took the dare. Some of their predictions were startling, and some not so surprising.

FROM DENNIS EVERSON, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD:

  • Lifestyle farmers will be gone because generation X and Y are interested in living, not working. They won't want to work on a hobby farm at the end of their work day.

  • Lack of youth in ag will cause investors from Wall Street to step in.

FROM DAVID KOHL, professor emeritus at Virgina Tech:

  • By 2020, organic farming will hit 20%; today it's at only 8%.

  • Big houses will decline in value and be owned by foreign investors.

FROM ROGER STURDEVANT, Bank of the West, Fresno, CA:

  • Lots of land in California will go fallow because there won't be enough water.

  • An increasing loss of the labor force.

  • Dairy farmers will become energy-neutral because they'll provide energy from manure.

FROM BRIAN LITTLE, RBC Roybal Bank, Toronto, Canada:

  • Estate planning will be front and center.

  • Few bankers will have grown up on a farm.

  • Cash flow will be king.

  • Plan for more food safety and labeling.

  • Instead of farmers borrowing $10 million, they'll be borrowing $100 million. Bankers will become true financial advisors.

FROM SAM MILLER, M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Appleton, WI:

  • Recycled livestock nutrients will power homes and vehicles.

  • Borrowers will farm in many areas of the world.

  • Rooftop gardens will produce food and become commonplace.

  • Crops will have sensors and livestock will have radio frequency identification.

Agree or not, some of their predictions will likely give you pause about the future. I guess that's a good thing. Who knows, maybe I'll find heck of a deal on an abandoned hobby farm.

Happy Holidays from the staff of Corn & Soybean Digest.

CORN F.I.R.S.T.

Last month many of you received a supplement with your issue called “F.I.R.S.T. 2008 Corn Edition.” It contains on-farm results of top-yielding hybrids. An important line should have been included that reads: AgSCI Copyright @ 2008 Agronomic Seed Consulting, Inc., All rights reserved.