Three farmers from across the state who’re preparing to enter the fields for planting in a few weeks say the down economic times haven’t hit them as hard as it has other areas of the state or nation’s economy. Gary Edwards of Anamosa is the president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
Edwards says the recession hasn’t given him a great concern as he says agriculture is normally out of cycle with the rest of the economy and runs on its own cycle. Edwards says one thing he has done in response is to restructure all of his debt so it is all long-term at a fixed rate. He says a fixed rate allows him to stay locked in at low interest rates as he expects the rates to move back up, just like they did in the 1980’s.
Julius Schaaf, farms near Randolph in south-west Iowa. Schaaf agrees with Edward’s assessment and says he has tried to lock in prices on whatever he can to get the best deals. "We’re part of the economy that’s been pretty much moving forward through all this, but I just wanna make sure if this thing, you know, would happen to take a turn for the worse this summer, that I wouldn’t miss out on some of the prices that are being offered now," Schaff says.
Bruce Rohwer of Paulina says the view from northwest Iowa is much the same. Rohwer says the recession at the local level isn’t "severe by any means." He says, "I think that is more a product of the C-NBC news cycle, that people just from hearing so much negative tend to get down, but as far as actually being in trouble, I don’t think we have too much among the farming community yet."
Rohwer says the economy outside of Iowa is something he is watching. "Probably the concern is, what will happen in terms of our foreign purchasers, is it going to affect exports down the line? Because we need to get rid of whatever excess we produce, and the foreign market has served us well in that," Rohwer says. He says that also raises concerns about the dollar and the impact that will have, but as a farmer he doesn’t have the answer for that.
All three made their comments in a conference call with the media set up by the Iowa Corn Growers Association .