Saturday, January 11, 2014
At the peak of the problem, something like one out of seven homes were sitting empty in our area. The DHL hub closure near us made national news and caused great hardship. One of our children lives in a home that was lost during those foreclosures. Ohio remains in the top ten states of foreclosure but you will be surprised what states are in those ten highest states.
A friend of ours lost their home last year and they were the type of people you would never think would have that problem. I know it's possible it could happen to us but we are in much better shape today than we were a few years ago.
We took on a lot of debt so we could farm. We enjoyed the high commodity prices but paid a big price to get there. Now our inputs are still pretty high and our income is cut in half. We never bought any new machinery so it's not a "paint problem," things just cost so much today. It is really difficult to keep your production costs below yield and price and 2014 looks to be a big test.
This has been a major discussion point on Crop Talk. Many of us were never handed "the silver spoon" and had to make it from scratch. That is very difficult to do in farming today but so far we've done it. It was a late start for me but we have accomplished so much in the last ten years. I am blessed to be able to do what LuAnn and I have done the past ten years.
That's why I enjoy agronomy so much. There are a thousand different ways to raise a good crop and it can be done "on the cheap." I think that is why so many email us, visit us, interview us and read our posts. Soil health doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, it takes study and determination. It takes thinking out of the box to not farm like we did 50 years ago when I was a teen.
Most of these high land prices were paid by well healed families who could afford to bid more for land, the base of farming. Many were not and this year is going to be a real test. Will the bubble burst again in agriculture? I don't think we will have the terrible 80's problem we had but some will fall just as hard.
Let's learn how not to be one. Financial management is key, producing more for less is a must.