Farmers may see a silver linning ahead….

We, at Farm Plus, understand farmers and ranchers are facing higher input costs and declining commodity pricing. An article by Mary Scott  of the Westminster Advocate.com points out:

The price of commodities has dropped and affected many farmers’ bottom line, according to experts, but some area farmers are able to find a silver lining. “The agriculture economy was actually pretty good there for an extended period of time, but this fall saw a lot of commodities take a drop,” said Gabe Zepp, agriculture development specialist for the county. Zepp said recent months have shown grains, corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and livestock, among other products, take a drop in price, meaning farmers are receiving less money for them. According to Zepp, farmers’ economic woes come from a trickle down effect from the rest of the economy.
In central Maryland, the price for a bushel of shelled corn fell from $4.10 a bushel on Dec. 16, to $3.97 a bushel on Dec. 29, according to the Maryland Grain & Livestock Report for Jan. 2. By contrast, the price per bushel of shelled corn in central Maryland in the early part of 2008 was $4.90. Yellow soybeans fell from $12.03 per bushel in early 2008 to $8.61 per bushel on Dec. 29, and red winter wheat fell from $9.20 in early 2008 to $4.84 on Dec. 29. However, according to Jerry Russell, beef cattle farmer at Spring Mills Farm, not all of the economic impacts have been negative for farmers. “Some things it looks as though the economy has affected in a good way, but in other ways the same things that affect everything else — the cost of machinery, credit — have been affected negatively, not unlike other sectors of the economy,” Russell said. According to Russell, certain types of feed prices have gone down, which is good for the farmer purchasing it, but bad for the farmer selling feed. “All of the hay that I raise I use on the farm, but I know they’re down from a year ago when we had the drought prices,” he said. For Russell, one positive of the current economy, is that the demand for feeder calves and fat cattle has increased, along with their prices. The decrease in commodity prices was accompanied by an increase in production costs, Zepp said. Dwight Baugher, farm manager at Baugher’s Orchard in Westminster, said that throughout the season, their production costs were way up for items such as fertilizer and fuel. “So our prices have to come up or we’re going backwards,” Baugher said. Larry Mickley, store manager for Bullock’s Country Meat & Farm Market in Westminster, said he’d also noticed higher production costs, and said that even though they try to keep their prices in line, prices can’t be reduced too much or no profit will be made. However, Baugher said production costs are driven by the price of crude oil, which has been dropping recently. “If crude oil continues to drop, I’m sure our fertilizer and fuel, any of your supplies … will come down,” he said. Baugher also reported seeing a change in the way consumers are purchasing food. More people came out for “pick-your-own” season because eating local can save people a little bit of money per pound, he said. Mickley said more people are buying the cheaper cuts of meat and choosing hamburger over filet. Zepp said farmers are used to volatile prices and that the recent effects of the economy they’re feeling are only slightly more extreme than usual. “All of agriculture has taken a hit,” Zepp said. “But agriculture is always kind of in a transition mode. You can never guarantee yourself set prices and farmers understand that.”

We are proud to offer the same, great loan products we’ve always offered. We understand some small, rural banks are having to make up for poor performance by increasing loan fees and in the end costing farmers and ranchers more money. We’re excited to be considered a low cost loan provider and we’ll continue to offer a superb loan product. If you’re looking for relief from inflating input costs we might be able to help by offering you a low cost loan. To inquire please click here. We hope to help!