U.S. farmers enjoy a banner year — depending on geography and crop choice, of course

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From the Associated Press (Jim Suhr) via The Denver Post via Twitter:

While much of America worries about the possibility of a double-dip recession…[some]…U.S. farmers enjoy their best run in decades, thanks to high prices for many crops, livestock and farmland and strong global demand for corn used in making ethanol.

Farm profits are expected to spike by 28 percent this year to $100.9 billion, and the amount of cash farms have available to pay bills also is expected to top $100 billion—the first time both measures have done so, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All the while, crop sales are expected to pass the $200 billion mark for the first time in U.S. history, and double-digit increases are expected in livestock sales.

“We’re just experiencing the best of times,” said Bruce Johnson, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “It’s a story to tell.”

That’s not to say that everyone is sharing in the good fortune. Near Gardner, Kan., a short drive south of Kansas City, a lack of rain and nagging winds conspired to leave Bill Voigts with about half of the soybeans he expected. His harvest of corn was worse, coming in at about one-third of his normal production. Even with insurance, he didn’t quite break even on the 2,400 acres he farms—most of them rented. “Had it not been for insurance in his area, it’d be a disaster. That’s the only thing that saves us,” said Voigts, 66.

But he noted that the drought plaguing farmers like him helped drive up prices for commodities like corn, soybeans and wheat, benefitting those fortunate enough to get a good crop. “At the expense of some farmers, other farmers become wealthy,” he said. “That’s really the whole story. That’s not the government’s fault, it’s nobody’s fault. That’s just the way things happen.

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