Every once in a while, I check in on some of the most frequently asked questions about farmers on Google. I’m always surprised.
While the day-to-day tasks of my job always lead me to believe that people are interested in GMO’s, organic food production, trade, and other important topics, turns out that people really care about how much money farmers are making.
You might start out by reading a couple of these. They are going to help you understand an average Illinois farmer’s balance sheet.
ARE FARMERS RICH IN 2017?
ARE FARMERS RICH?
ARE FARMERS RICH? UPDATED!!
But to answer the overall question of farmers, how much money they make, and if their cries about profitability have any weight, check out this graph:
This graph is basically showing us that after adjusting for inflation, farmers are making considerably less money than they used to make. Look at the depression years! Farmers are making less net profit right now than they were making in the 1920s and 1930s.
It’s definitely an eye opener.
As for the immediate question, will farmers be going broke in 2017? I think the answer is no. We will not see farmers declaring bankruptcy in droves this year. The thing about farmers is that they are good at saving for a rainy day, so most can weather this downturn.
But what’s helping them withstand this low price period is good farm programs, good crop insurance, and good marketing opportunities. What we can’t do is forsake programs to help farmers weather bad years and bad prices because we perceive them getting rich.
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director