"I don't know. I think our economy will crash first but could be wrong. How our economy keeps going I have no idea but I can tell you lots of NATers like _____ and ____ _____ have gold silver, loaded to the bear and ready for anything. So far, only a few farmers are leaving and leaving silently, some more will be hitting the skids here. They can't make $300 ground work, thank God I don't have to. Great question, good blog topic."
There are some great discussions by real farm people at this link. Corn is half the price it was a year ago but inputs aren't. Wheat and beans have held their own but the commodity markets have been pretty dead. Cattle are good property but hogs may hit the skids again.
"So what could farmers do to survive another financial crisis? The world is always changing, but farmers may gain some valuable insights from those who survived the farm crisis of the 1980s. First, the answer is not to do what farmers are been advised to do for the past 50 years. This is not the time to get bigger, give in to corporate control, or get out of farming. The farmers who bought more land and equipment to expand during the 1970s were the ones with the biggest problems during the 1980s. With regard to contract production, the agribusiness corporations do not make legally binding, long term commitments to their contract growers. When times get tough, contract producers are going to be caught with large investments in facilitates and equipment with no animals to feed or no markets for their crops, and thus, no means of making their loan payments.
The farmers who survived the farm financial crisis of the 1980s were those who resisted the temptation to borrow money during 1970s. Those without large debts obviously were not committed to large loan repayments nor were they subject to bankruptcy, even after significant year-to-year losses. Their equity, primarily in the unencumbered value of their land, was more than adequate to cover their modest debts. Diversified farmers also fared much better than those who had specialized in one or two commodities. Those with a variety of crops, or both livestock and crops, were in a better position to manage their financial risks. Even though prices in general were depressed, different commodities were more or less profitable at different times."
So, the most important strategy for surviving the next farm financial crisis may be to get to know your neighbors and turn them into customers as well as friends. Wendell Berry writes that farmers of the future “must tend farms they know and love, farms small enough to know and love, using tools and methods that they know and love, in the company of neighbors that they know and love” – and I might add, producing food for people they know and love. The key to surviving the next farm financial crisis will be a deep and abiding love of land and people."
This makes sense to me. What do you think? I just added Ralph Goff's excellent link to a story on such in his area.