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Getting by in tough economic times

Agriculture.com Staff 01/20/2009 @ 10:22am

Though it's far from what many sectors of the economy have faced, agriculture hasn't been exempt from the macroeconomic downturn in the last year. And, at least for the first few months of '09, it's not expected to get any better.

"After several years of high grain prices and generous margins, crop producers are facing a 2009 that looks less than rosy. Higher inputs costs and selling prices well below the peaks of 2008 will result in fewer dollars left over to pay landlords and put into savings," according to Iowa State University Extension economist William Edwards. "Livestock producers have had to endure many months of thin or negative margins, as well."

That's the bad news. The good news is there are ways to "recession-proof" your farm to get through these tough economic times without too many lasting battle scars. At this point, Edwards says it's all about keeping your balance sheet on an even keel until macroeconomic conditions improve.

"Agriculture has always been a cyclical industry," he says. "A good financial manager learns to balance the profits and losses to ensure long-term survival."

Though it's far from what many sectors of the economy have faced, agriculture hasn't been exempt from the macroeconomic downturn in the last year. And, at least for the first few months of '09, it's not expected to get any better.

Edwards offers the following ways to recession-proof your farm:

Controlling costs and working to maintain profits in an unstable economy can be accomplished in many ways, farmers say. One bright side to the current economy is interest rates are lower, and some farmers say they're trimming costs by refinancing.

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