Lawmakers hear from ag sector on boosting farm income

It is still early to have an accurate forecast on farm income for the year, but USDA expects higher commodity prices to balance out the lower levels of farm payments from pandemic and trade relief.

Senate lawmakers heard from producers, researchers, and companies on ways to boost farm income.

Davon Goodwin, manager of the Sandhills AgInnovation Center says that he encourages other young farmers to consider diversification as a risk management tool.

“When I look at the intensification of climate change, it’s really important to diversify my crop so I can spread my risk out over the farm because when you are a first-generation farmer you’ve got one shot at this,” Goodwin states. “There’s not a lot of money to fix what goes wrong a lot of times.”

Land O’Lakes Truterra president, Jason Weller sees advance technology as the next step towards improving farm income and conservation.

According to Weller,” The future of conservation and the future of agriculture must be precision. We talk about driving additional profitability, we talk about growing more with less, we talk about trying to store carbon back in the soil to reduce emissions, reduce loss of nutrients in sediment for crop yields. At the end of the day, we have to provide both the tools, the technical assistance, and some financial assistance to help producers install those technologies.

Land O’Lakes launched their “True Carbon” program in February, he calls it a farmer-centric approach to monetizing carbon capture.

“It’s a way through our large scale across the United States, on millions of acres of crop production-- how can we then partner with our local owners, our local ag retailers to engage their farmers and help those farmers on a baseline with their current practices, adopt new practices, and, in this case, not just be compensated not just for the grain production but to double crop. In this case, the additional crop is going to be a carbon credit,” Weller adds.

Looking ahead to the future of technology and precision agriculture, Brian Carroll, Director of Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative, says that automation on the farm will lead to new types of businesses and services.

“New business models will start to emerge and one that is really exciting for me is farming as a service... this can bring down the cost structure, it can be more specific, and it can bring other farmers into the industry that had not considered that before,” he explains.

Carroll says that it is critical to create a feedback loop between farmers, companies, and researchers to help identify and overcome obstacles for innovation.


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