It’s going to be a great year. Well, mostly.

Times are still tough, and a lot of people are still out of work. The drought has made farming difficult, impossible for some folks to carry on and they’ve decided to sell their farms and get out.

The U.S. is trying to keep itself out of a conflict that could consume the entire world.

If you want to be entertained, there are some great movies coming out this year.

In Waterloo, Iowa, John Deere is selling the latest in farm technology, adapting itself to the needs of farmers. It’s the John Deere Model B, starting with the series number 60,000.

The tractor is what smaller row-crop farmers have been wanting, offering an open cab with a pressed-steel seat and a 2.4 liter two-cylinder engine and the familiar hand-crank starter. Two-row corn pickers are in demand for harvesting corn.

On the Illinois River, the Peoria lock and dam at Creve Coeur, is placed into service. The need is obvious — U.S. farmers are hearing the sabers rattling in Europe.

War will mean an increased demand for the products they grow, they expect and hope. They need a way to get those products to market. It will be almost 20 years before the U.S. interstate system becomes a reality.

Welcome to 1939.

When we were talking after the press conference, after Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos and their aides had left, I mentioned to someone that I’d winced when one of the other reporters had segued from talk about the Peoria lock and dam and the need for infrastructure repair to talk about Syria.

But it was helpful that the Syria question was asked. Because then I was able to ask where, if the U.S. decided to send money, military and arms to Syria, funding for projects such as waterway infrastructure would fall.

Durbin didn’t bat an eye. He reassured the media and our audiences that the Department of Defense has plenty of money put aside for things such as sending U.S. military or arms to countries such as Syria — $600 billion a year set aside, according to the senator.

I wondered if Durbin and Bustos saw any irony in that whatsoever.

Earlier, Durbin said that he has been working on infrastructure legislation since 2007 — when the backlog of projects needing authorization and funding was at $60 billion.

Later, we interviewed Col. Mark Deschenes, who is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger and Airborne schools. His tours of duty have taken him to disasters in Haiti and to helping out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He’s now the commander and district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Rock Island District.

The colonel noted that it would take around $30 million to repair the Peoria lock and dam to the point where it is at least in no imminent danger of breaking down.

“I don’t expect a check for $30 million to land on my desk tomorrow,” he assured reporters.

He praised the work of each of the 13-man crews at each of the eight lock and dam facilities on the Illinois River, starting at La Grange near Beardstown at the confluence with the Mississippi and ending with TJ O’Brien, where the Illinois River meets Lake Michigan.

The crews work around the clock, in all weather and they are the ultimate in multitasking. They are painters, carpenters, masons, landscapers, meteorologists, radio operators and customer service agents.

They’re the ones who deal with the consequences of the Illinois River being at flood levels this past spring to the bottom of the traffic light that hangs a dozen or more feet above the lock chamber to signal boats moving through the lock.

If you need any other reason, sit down and watch “Gone With The Wind” or “The Wonderful World of Oz” — the original version with Judy Garland — soon. Laugh at the old-fashioned special effects and backdrops used in both movies, released in 1939.

We don’t make movies like they did in 1939. We don’t drive 1939-model cars as our regular everyday transportation, and we don’t farm with the same tools we used in 1939.

But we still move millions of tons of cargo and thousands of boats and hundreds of people up and down our inland waterways using technology and structures that were put into operation in the 1930s.

I’m all in favor of the U.S. defending itself and its vital interests and its friends, as well as taking care of active-duty military such as Colonel Deschenes and our military veterans, fairly and providing for them in all ways.

But when a U.S. senator says we have $600 billion sitting around for wars in other countries, it seems like somebody could see the sense in having $30 million available to repair a piece of U.S. infrastructure. It seems like it should only be logical that there should be a check for $30 million sitting on the colonel’s desk in the morning.