Ag in Action 2017
Interested in a Timber Management plan? We
are interested in assisting with your plan. We are
stewardship loggers, wanting to assist
with fire management, insect infestation
and forest enhancement (including
grass and water improvement). We
offer competitive pricing for fir and
pine logs and are able to resource
pulp materials, assisting with a
complete logging package.
Locally owned & operated
with over 30 years
Please give us a call.
Tony & Susan Miller,
Miller’s Trucking, Inc.
By PAUL RINIKER
(Editor’s note: This story first ran on March 10 in the Cedar
Rapids Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is reprinted here with
In early February, I came upon an interesting
article in the Wall Street Journal. It said the total
number of farms in America will soon be under
2 million. That’s important, because we haven’t
seen that number since the Louisiana Purchase
in the mid-1800s.
The article detailed America’s shrinking role
in global grain markets. That, coupled with a
strong dollar and higher seed costs, is driving
producers out of business, the piece said. In fact,
planted wheat acres have fallen to the lowest
number in a century.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says
farmers’ incomewill drop 9 percent this year, the
fourth straight year of declines. At a time when
the cyclical farm economy is showing its down side, having
as much market access as possible grows in importance. Our
grain producer members, whatever the crop, are operating
their businesses in a global market. Tools like crop insurance,
the ability to market together, manage risk and operate in an
agriculture climate friendly to producers will be key as the
next farm bill is developed.
At National Farmers national convention in Springfield,
Mo., at the end of January, I spoke about agricultural prices
in several sectors falling below farmers’ production costs
last year. In fact, 1,400 loads of milk were disposed of in the
Northeast and Mideast dairy regions because there wasn’t
access to a stable market. In the first eight months of 2016,
the amount tallied up to 43 million gallons of
milk that was used in feed or disposed of on
farms. Dairy producers are seemingly at the
mercy of the industry climate, because of
consolidation and plant closures. And many of
these processing plants who closed facilities
had been good partners that we appreciated.
At National Farmers we understand the need
for healthy finances on the buy side of the
marketing equation, as well. There’s a balance,
to be sure.
Wisconsin Farmers Union in December
released the results of its Wisconsin survey of
every dairy producer in the state, which WFU
conducted in the fall. Sixty-three percent of the more than
1,000 respondents said they lost money based on cost of
production and prices received. Of those dairy producers,
765 said they had signed up for the Margin Protection
Program. So, the solution isn’t in this particular program.
Working for a more ag-friendly environmentContinued on page 24