Navigating long-term declines in the ag economy

An ag economist is concerned the next generation of farmers and ranchers may not be in a good position to navigate a long-term depressed farm economy.

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown spoke with Brownfield following his testimony at a House Ag Committee hearing on the rural economy on Wednesday.  “In Missouri – those in the 35-44 age range group have seen debt-to-asset ratios double in the past three years,” he says.  “That’s in stark contrast to what was an overall 1.8 percent debt-to-asset ratio for all Missouri farmers.”

But, he says, that financial stress isn’t felt by everyone.  “There’s a very different affect from the downturn depending on where you sit in terms of age, location, etc.,” he says.  “That is very important when talking about today’s downturn.”

While the farm economy continues to struggle, Brown says he doesn’t think the industry is headed toward another financial crisis like the 1980’s.  But, if the ag economy continues to move in a negative direction, he says the outlook for the farm economy could be very bleak.


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