DE LAND, Ill. (WCIA) – Farmers in the corn belt aren’t reaping what they sow. A recent survey from their lenders says that almost half of farmers in the Midwest don’t expect to make money this year.
In Central Illinois, profitability varies from farmer to farmer. Those in the area say they do expect to turn a profit.
But they say their profits have been going down for about the past five years. There’s a couple different reasons for this. While the cost of operating a farm is increasing, prices for corn are going down. The Piatt County Farm Bureau President says they’re the lowest he’s seen since 2002. He says while they’re seeing a profit on soybeans, he doesn’t expect corn to make farmers much money this year.
This is part of a nation-wide problem. The United Stated Department of Agriculture predicts that farmers’ incomes will drop an additional nine percent in 2017. That’s the fourth year in a row profits have dropped after reaching a record high in 2013.
“This year’s been very tough to try to turn a profit in your calculations as you’re planning a budget,” Jim Reed, a farmer in De Land, said. “Of course the year’s not over yet. We don’t know what the yield’s going to be. We don’t know what the pricing’s going to be. But we’ve had very little opportunity this spring to see what you would say are break even prices.”
Reed says another issue is rent on the acres they lease has been going up.
The Piatt County Farm Bureau says one of the best ways for farmers to protect their profits is crop insurance, especially with flooding and the weather his year.