US Farmers See Leaner Times in Stormy Market

Many predict downturn for agriculture after years of record profits
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2008 1:20 PM CDT
A farmer unloads harvested corn grain from the auger on his farm near Auburn, Ill., Sept. 26, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Plunging crop prices and soaring costs are hitting US farmers with a one-two punch that’s knocked the fight out of what had been one of the stronger segments of the nation’s economy, reports the Wall Street Journal. Corn prices have dropped some 50% since July, and prices for fertilizer and seed are expected to jump 40% next year.

Farmers who’ve enjoyed record profits—net income is expected to top $95.7 billion this year, nearly double the $58 billion of two years ago—are expecting a major slowdown. “I was finally enjoying farming, but it's real scary right now,” said one. Farm services companies, too have been hit, with giant ADM off 60% from its 52-week high.