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Farmer and Ranchers Study

Farmer and Ranchers Study

Study shows income decline for farmers, ranchers in 2016


The Associated Press - April 24, 2017

MITCHELL, S.D. — Farms enrolled with the South Dakota Center for Farm and Ranch Management reported a 68 percent decrease in their net income.

More than 100 farms, mostly located in eastern South Dakota, are part of the program run by Mitchell Technical Institute. Statistics from the center show the average net income decreased to $13,308 last year, down from $38,898 in 2015.

This follows a 77 percent decrease between 2014 and 2015.

"I've heard it said many times in this business: good times don't last, but neither do the bad," said William Walter, the program's director.

Walter said depressed commodity prices, unchanged production costs and land costs are part of the reason for the dip. He said while there's not much promise in the short-term, farmers who own land are in good shape. Some farmers have opted to plant cover crops, in an effort to save money.

"The cover crops have really become a widespread use of using another thing in your crop rotation. It's giving a value added to the field, especially for beef producers who use it for grazing," Walter said.

While some farmers are unsure if they will continue in the business, others are moving forward optimistically.

"It's spring," Walter said. "Farmers are optimistic. It's beautiful today outside. People don't stay in this business looking at last year. They plow on forward and stay optimistic and that's what you've got to do."



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