The president of the Iowa Farm Bureau is warning farmers to plan for an end to the “land boom.” A recent survey of rural bankers in 10 states found the farmland price index declined for the seventh time in eight months. Farm Bureau president Craig Hill of Milo says the state’s farmers and ranchers face a lot of economic pressures and identifying those is the first step in dealing with them and, hopefully, surviving.
“There’s so much risk involved, a producer really has to look at their balance sheet and their cash flow and insulate themselves from shocks,” Hill says. “That can come from Mother Nature, it can come from a global event that may occur overnight, situations in the marketplace.”
The Farm Bureau hosted an economic summit this past week to discuss the financial forces at work in farm country. “It’s such a dynamic industry and things are changing so fast that if you don’t keep updated and you don’t understand the potential risks that you have, you can’t address them,” Hill says.
Rural bankers predict farm income will be down about three percent this year. Farm equipment sales have soared in the first half of 2013 as farmers capitalize on high crop prices. Tractor sales increased 12 percent from 2012, with over 100,000 units sold.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton