Concerns with farms’ financial health arise

A rebound in crop and livestock prices could bolster farm income as federal programs recede next year.

Some estimate in September that the farm income could fall by 17 percent next year after the programs end. The Kansas City Federal Reserve says that economic conditions in ag improved, thanks to government payments and higher commodity prices, but the outlook for future months will depend on the path or prices and government support.

Experts say that next year’s economic growth could boost commodity prices as the country works to recover from shutdowns.

Meanwhile, a new report shows consistent low commodity prices have put U.S. agriculture under extreme financial pressures.

The report by Field to Market evaluates the farm economy’s current state and shows:

  • Weaker prices have decreased farm’s financial well-being since 2013

  • Downward trends in financial health are a sign for caution, as the government has supported farm receipts with programs that are not guaranteed to continue

  • The current financial state will have a major influence on the types of sustainability practices farms will take on

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says, “Today’s family farmers and ranchers are facing some of their steepest economic and environmental obstacles in many decades... Farmers are implementing new practices and systems, but they come at a financial and temporal cost... Food and agricultural companies must keep these expenses in mind as they work to reduce the environmental footprint of their supply chains.”