The first month of the year is behind us. Some of us might have lost focus on our New Year’s resolutions, whatever they may be. One thing I’ve learned is that if you are uncertain and nervous about the way things are, just remember back to a year ago today… What worried you then? Honestly, can you even remember what your worry was at that time?

The point of that lesson was that problems come and go, but time moves forward. What we worried about then may not be an issue now. And most likely, the current situation is much better with the future looking more promising.

In the world of dairy, producers were met with fret last year over slumping milk costs, warranting measures for some to keep afloat. Now as the year turns, there may be hope.

It’s like a snowball atop a hill. In this case, the snowball is dairy and the positive expectation of higher prices may give the push the industry needs. As reported last month, prices are expected to rise nearly $2 in 2017, according to the USDA. As that snowball catches momentum and grows bigger, the good news and added revenue could fuel more business purchases such as auto, equipment and maybe labor needs.

This rosy prediction still has many barriers to consider; U.S. production versus export output is a big one followed by processing and marketing. However, higher prices send more of our milk exports out the door. Coupled with the expected production slowdown in Europe, dairy farmers could enjoy some measured success this year.

Some of you are working on an expansion, and others might have some nervousness left over from the previous year, but just know the data is leaning on the positive side. Although 2017 is just starting for dairy producers, there might be a snowball’s chance to succeed this year.