What Downturn? Farmers Have Abundant Year
Profits set to jump 28%, cross $100B mark
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 12, 2011 8:24 AM CST
In a photo taken Oct. 31, 2011, central Illinois farmer Dale Hadden feeds his Angus beef cattle on the family farm near Jacksonville, Ill. Hadden's farming operation is doing especially well this year...   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – The rest of us might be bracing for the worst, but US farmers are having a banner year. With prices soaring for crops, farmland, and livestock, farmers are set to score profits of $100.9 billion, a 28% jump, the AP reports. That's the first time the figure has topped the $100 billion mark, and it's joined by two other records: Farms are expected to have more than $100 billion in cash available to cover bills, and crop sales are likely to pass $200 billion. "We're just experiencing the best of times," says an agricultural economist. "It's a story to tell." And due to demand in China, India, and other developing countries for US agricultural exports, some experts are calling this the "new normal."

But the playing field is far from even. While an Illinois farmer found himself able to make tractor payments a year in advance, and a farmer in Oregon made $2 million by selling off land and equipment, others haven't been so lucky. A Kansas farmer hit by drought fell short of breaking even despite his insurance. But droughts drove up crop prices, proving a boon for other farmers. "At the expense of some farmers, other farmers become wealthy," the Kansas farmer notes. "That's not the government's fault, it's nobody's fault. That's just the way things happen."

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Dec 12, 2011 11:53 AM CST
The fact is that the financial collapse has made commodities the new bubble..farmers might be doing well, but if youve been to the grocery store you will notice all the prices are higher and all the packages are smaller. Coffee and bread as well as beans and flour, things I buy regularly, have gone through the freakin roof. Its whats called inflation and its ugly step-mother devaluation. It what happens when you allow greedy bastards to control your country's monetary system.
Dec 12, 2011 9:37 AM CST
If only there were some way to spread the wealth so the ones who had a bad year in the midst of all this plenty don't just have to fold up and blow away. I know we're constitutionally against bailouts and socialism in this country, but, seriously, would it be so bad to share the wealth? We like to believe the myth that hard work and perseverence are the requirements for success -- and that is probably true up to the point where we start blaming laziness and a quitter attitude for what really are quirks of nature. Much of the midwest spent the summer under water, while nearby states experienced drought conditions. Hard work and perseverence only go so far in the face of that stuff.
Dec 12, 2011 8:49 AM CST
Weren't the farmers JUST complaining about losing a TON of money because they can't hire illegals anymore? Boo hoo...