Farmers looking at some of the lowest income in years

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Big Iron WDAY 2_1473932587129.jpg

(WDAY TV) – As farmers and ranchers spread out across Big Iron today, not many were reaching for their checkbook, or loading up combines to haul home.

The Department of Agriculture says farm income across our country will be the lowest since 2009.

At a time of so much uncertainty, farmers facing 7-year low prices, high production costs and banks knocking on the doors, are sharing stories with each other about the turnaround that needs to come soon.

“Prices, of course, everyone knows about them. It is a downturn,” said Tim Skjoiten, Hatton, ND farmer.

Tim Skjoiten of Hatton, ND along with his grandson Ben, checked out equipment today.

“This is a window shopping day, not a day to business for us, always fun to look,” said Skjoiten.

And like most, realized this will be a season of belt tightening.

But ag consultants who work with farmers on a daily basis, say adjustments have to and are being made, but you can’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

“We don’t want less bushels and less money we still want more bushels even when the markets are down, we can’t cut back on fertilizer and stuff we know gets us the yield,” said Kasey Naumann, PGAg- Enderlin, ND.

Jake Johnson and Kasey Naumann advise producers who are wrestling with a farm economy that doesn’t want to turnaround.

“We have to try to cut input a little bit, but there is just so much you can cut. Don’t do anything drastic,” said Jake Johnson, Plains Grain and Agronomy.

Net Farm income this year will fall 11.5 percent.  A third straight annual pay cut for farmers. With record fall harvests on the way, more dollars in the back pocket will have to wait.

In North Dakota alone, the average net farm income dropped from $76,000 to $28,000 in just one year.

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