The Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Des Moines this week is focusing on perseverance in the down economy. Farm Bureau president, Craig Lang, says farming hasn’t seen the full impact of the downturn just yet. Lang says row crop farmers came through a great year, while he says it was a tough year for the animal industry, especially for pork farmers. He says the cattle industry kind of broke even, but overall the livestock industry didn’t have a great year.
Lang says those who grew corn and soybeans will see tougher times in the new year after making plans based on record prices. He says many farmers made plans based on high grain prices that were driven mainly by speculation and higher oil prices, and then the prices lost 60% of their values since mid summer.
Lang says they now have input costs based on higher prices as contracts were written before September 1st and many times they are set for three years. Lang says the differences in the impact of the economy on grain and livestock farming show some signs that not everything will be bad.
Lang says looking at the optimistic side, when there are problems for some farmers, there are opportunities for others, and he says the industry can manage its way through. Lang says the Farm Bureau is holding risk management training during its meeting and that’s the first piece of advice to farmers in these tough times — make a risk management plan.
He says both livestock and grain farmers are advised to make the plans, and he also advises them not to buy anything they can’t afford, and to buy things with cash. Lang says farmers need to save and pay down debt. Lang says the new year will see the down economy impact agriculture more and more.
Lang says the economic slowdown will show up in ways that are “very troubling from what we’ve seen already in VeraSun and Agriprocessors.” He says people will stop buying ag products like they have in the past and that will be tough on the industry. the iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting wraps up today (Friday) at the Polk County Convention Complex.