Farming is a volatile business, one with both enthusiastic highs matched with devastating falls.

Since the 1930s, U.S. farm policy, which is periodically rewritten, has ensured this vital business remains viable in the U.S. and that Americans have an affordable, healthy, reliable food supply, one that can weather the unpredictable nature of this global business.

Prices for major Georgia crops like corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat are at historical highs right now, painting an optimistic picture for agricultural producers this year. Rarely are prices this high across the board. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service projects that growers’ net cash income will reach a record $99 billion in 2011, up 7.6 percent from last year and up 44 percent over 2009.

As we enter this farming season, agricultural producers are poised to have a good economic year, but it is also a year to enter with guarded optimism. In the last year alone, fuel and fertilizer costs have risen more than 20 percent.