Pressure on farms is projected to increase as prices fall

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FULTON – Net farm income could fall for the fourth year in 2017, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute with the University of Missouri.

“Prices for corn, wheat, soy, beans, cattle, hogs, most commodities across the board have been falling in the past few years because of the large production we’ve been having,” said program leader Scott Gerlt.

The group released a new report showing record U.S. yields and world production resulted in further declines in corn, wheat and many other crop prices.

“Anytime our product that we raise is worth less, that makes it harder to keep our operations running,” said Jeff Jones, owner and operator of Jones Angus Farms.

Meat prices have also come down. The report says cattle, chicken, hog, and milk prices have declined sharply since 2014.

The report says, “Even with a modest recovery in farm income in 2018 and beyond, pressure on farm finances is expected to continue.”

Gerlt said most farms are not in crisis mode yet, but might have to close down if the trend continues over the next five years.

“The number one sector of Missouri economically is agriculture, so what happens in agriculture in Missouri affects everyone to some degree,” Gerlt said.

According to the report, food price inflation was 0.3 percent in 2016, but is projected to reach 1.7 percent in 2017.