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Ag in Action 2017

Mill

er’s

L

ogging

& T

rucking

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

experience.

Please give us a call.

Tony & Susan Miller,

Miller’s Trucking, Inc.

406-366-0944

or 406-473-2346;

Shawn Nicholls,

Prairie Logging

406-366-1911

24

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

permission.)

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 environment

Continued on page 24