crystal-ballWhen writer rotation fate picks you to ink the last News and Views column of the year, there are two logical directions to take.

One, the path of least resistance, would be a year-in-review synopsis. We’ve all read them, at least until we got tired of finding out stuff we already knew.

The other option, and the one I will take here, is of prediction — a focus on what I expect to happen in 2014 as opposed to what has been.

So, cash-in your 401K, head to Las Vegas and bet the house with confidence. Here are my top picks for the coming year with adherence to a longstanding personal rule: Never predict alfalfa winterkill or grain markets; doing either will solidify idiocy.

1. Let’s start easy: During the course of the growing season, a farmer will utter the words, “If we don’t get rain in the next week, this crop is lost.”

2. During the course of the growing season, the same farmer in No. 1 will utter the words, “If it doesn’t stop raining, this crop is lost.”

3. Yearning for apple pie following supper, someone will pull out an iPhone and type “3.14.”

4. A modest-looking insurance corporate headquarters building will be built somewhere in the U.S. On second thought, let me take that one back. This will never happen.

5. The Milwaukee Brewers, in an unprecedented move, will unveil a new promotion whereby one lucky fan will get to play first base and bat seventh during every home game.

6. At the Eden Fireman’s Parade, agricultural technology will be showcased as an auto-steer tractor (without driver) pulls a John Deere small square baler and flat rack (with 4-H members) down Main Street. Candy will be launched to the crowd via the bale kicker.

7. Brace yourself: It will be hot during the county fair.

8. Someone will bring a cicada into the extension office with fears of Emerald ash borer damage (I’m banking on three years in a row for this one).

9. Tony Schmitz, all-league center for St. Mary’s Springs High School and dairy farm kid, will qualify for the Jeopardy championship on television. He will lose, but only because he fails to write down the final Jeopardy answer in the form of a question.

10. On a cruel April Fools’ Day whim, Congress will send out a news release claiming to have passed a Farm Bill. However, few people will find it believable.

11. Fleet Farm toyland will open on July 4th.

12. A super computer will break the code to figure-out cell phone company invoices. The industry will counter by printing all invoices in Mongolian, but charge extra for this service.

13. Somewhere a farmer will bale an entire 10-acre field of hay without the knotter missing a tie. Good luck finding the farmer and the field.

14. My string of years with no Facebook friends or people liking me will continue.

15. Greg Stensland, Fond du Lac radio newsman, will finally forego his allegiance to the Vikings and become a Packers’ fan. He will host a weekly Packers talk radio show by the year’s end, but fail in his attempt to become the new Packers media relations director.

16. The corn planting season will not extend into July. June? Maybe, but not July. Gosh, I hope not July.

17. At 11 p.m. on a Tuesday, I will remember that I didn’t tape my radio program for Wednesday morning. It will be eerily similar to the situation that exists as I’m writing this.

18. Both Iowa State and Wisconsin will make it to the Final Four.

19. With a five-day forecast of sunshine, acres of hay will be cut. It will be rained on the next day.

20. Someone will ask if I’m retired, when I’m retiring, or why don’t you retire. Sorry, I’m not retiring.

Happy New Year

Mike Rankin, Crops and Soils Agent, UW Extension-Fond du Lac County

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