Corn and soybean prices have been on the decline since 2014. In Indiana and most of the Corn Belt, farmland values have not fallen. One economist says that is a sure sign things are going to get better. University of Illinois ag economist Scott Irwin says the fact that land values have stayed relatively strong, despite multiple years of poor profitability, is a sign that sooner or later the farm economy will turn around, “That is one way to reconcile the firmness of land values is that these long term investors, whether they are farmers or outside investors, are counting on commodity prices recovering to profitable levels in the not too distant future.”
Irwin believes that prices will return to profitable levels like $4.00 for corn, $10.75 for soybeans, and $4.75 for all wheat. But farmers want to know when that will be. Irwin says it may be a gradual recovery as world economic conditions improve, or it may be a quick and violent recovery because of a calamity, “I think it will be a series of bad weather events that will be what finally brings us out of this downturn.” He is looking for the return of a more normal frequency of bad weather in the United States, noting that the last twenty-plus years have been the best series in terms of Corn Belt weather since 1895.