Agricultural leaders from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa met recently in St. Joseph, Missouri, with each state reporting on findings from surveys of farmers and experts in the financial industry. A list of recommendations to improve the ag economy would then be forwarded to policy makers. Some of the common themes included the importance of international trade, supporting younger producers’ desire to return to the farm, and helping producers recognize where their break-even points are. Lower commodity prices are pressuring both producers and their lenders. One Extension expert said lenders are watching their clients closely and operating loans are becoming harder to acquire. For example, cattle producers in Missouri and Kansas are having a hard time finding operating capital. A general consensus of recommendations to be passed on to the U.S. Department of Agriculture included the need for states to continue to work together, saying it is important to do so because the current economic situation is projected by some to last all the way to 2020. There is also a need for states to work together to find common Farm Bill policies.
Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Richard Fordyce, who hosted the event, said the farm economy will face another two years of down prices, adding “It’s not as easy to tighten belts as it was 20 years ago.”
Source: NAFB News Service