Struggling ag economy creates ripple effects
The Chairman of the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management says despite reports of a booming overall economy, the rural and farm economy is struggling.
During his opening remarks, Congressman Filemon Vela of Texas said the numbers from the USDA paint a rough picture. “USDA forecast net farm income levels for 2019 to be only 77 percent of the national average from 2000 to 2017,” he says. “It’s down 50 percent from 2013 alone.”
In his testimony, Minnesota farmer Mike Peterson said the trade wars aren’t helping and continue to put pressure on farm incomes during a time when margins are already tight.
He says that creates a ripple effect throughout rural communities. “When farmers don’t have money they can’t spend it in town,” he says. “Not having the markets that our checkoff dollars and negotiations in the past had negotiated for. We need to get ships tied up in foreign countries, that’s just the way it is. I don’t think we can accomplish that by telling our customers how to act.”
Peterson says if the farm economy continues to tumble it will be difficult to keep family farmers on farms.