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View from the Cab: Troubling Times

Declining farm income remains a major talking point as we get ready to harvest what could be a record crop.

Around 75 percent of bankers surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City noted shrinking farm income. According to the Federal Reserve, growers are borrowing more money to cover operating costs since farm income continued its decline during the second quarter of the year.

The FDIC reported farm lending by banks based in Minnesota has plateaued since 2014 following a period of growth the previous few years.

The trouble is demand for corn hasn’t kept pace with a growing supply as the United States and a few other countries helped to expand global corn acres by 18 percent during the past decade. A mid-July report from USDA led to the steep drop in corn and soybean prices. The report showed most of the nation’s crops in good condition, which leads many to believe there will be a bumper crop come fall.

Some analysts are saying we have already reached the bottom in the markets and we can only go up from here. Let’s hope they are right. I don’t want to see corn prices with a 2 in the front when the combines start to roll. That is possible, however, if we do have good crops everywhere.

We will have a better idea of crop yields during this week’s 2016 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. One of the tour stops includes Bloomington so I hope to bring back some valuable information from that. You can follow the tour on Twitter with the hashtag, #pftour16. The company is even giving people the chance to win by simply uploading their crop photos on Instagram.

The family and I had a fun time at the 140th Fairbury Fair last week. It was neat to be a part of the special celebration with the theme of “Agriculture…Our Heritage.” I had a blast working under the ag display tent on the east end of the fairgrounds and it was great seeing everyone out there.

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