Ag Is Not Dead

Over the last six-years, agriculture went from the euphoria of high commodity prices to downright depression over how much they’ve dropped and how little money farmers are making. But let’s look at the bright side.

Angie Setzer is the vice president of grain at Citizen’s Elevator in Charlotte, Michigan. She says there are good things happening in the industry. For example, input costs have stabilized.

"One of the biggest troubles that growers had ’10,’12,’13,’14 and ’15, was input costs. All over the place. You’d think, ok, well maybe I’ll buy that in fall, you’d lock it in and then in the spring it would be much cheaper and you’d kick yourself. Then maybe I won’t buy it this fall I’ll wait until spring and then it’d be way more expensive and you’d kick yourself. Well now, we’ve figured out when the good times to buy are," says Setzer. "Farmers just plain know more."

She says there’s a sense of hopeful optimism returning. While some farmers still have to make tough decisions, others are finding ways to celebrate this new market set-up by embracing new tools and technology to maximize their production. Despite the highs and lows on a single farm, the expanding world population will always need something to eat.

"Demand growth insures agriculture remains a constant. We are in a permanent industry, congratulations. We do have to feed the world, we just kind of jumped the gun on increasing production to feed the world a little bit," she says. "So, a lot of people get mad when you say that we have to feed the world, that’s B.S.  Why do I have to feed them for free? Well, you kind of got a little excited about feeding them, a lot of them haven’t been born yet."

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