K-State ag economist urges farmers to closely monitor costs

In Agribusiness on August 20, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Much of the current economic problems can be blamed on poor decision making at all levels and low interest rates, a Kansas State University agricultural economist told attendees at the Risk and Profit Conference today in Manhattan, KS.

At the same time, however, history teaches us that the state of the overall economy and the state of agriculture are not closely intertwined, said Dr. Allen Featherstone, a KSU professor. This means that the ag sector has fared relatively well compared with the rest of the economy.

Still, economic pressures in other parts of the world could dampen trade further, with the agricultural trade surplus forecast to drop to $11.5 billion this year. That, combined with potential spikes in prices for fertilizer and other petroleum-based inputs could put the squeeze on farm profits unless farmers take steps to closely manage costs.

USDA and the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute are forecasting a slight dip in farm income in the final quarter of 2009, followed by a gentle upward slope over the next couple of years.

We’ll have another update from the Risk and Profit Conference tomorrow.


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