US: Falling prices squeeze farmers’ bottom lines

The University of Idaho Extension economist believes U.S. agriculture is at a turning point. After eight profitable years for most farmers, he sees a return to an all-too-familiar trend that has been gaining steam. The prices farmers receive for the crops they grow don’t keep pace with production costs, including inputs, wages, loan interest and taxes. Economists call it the “cost-price squeeze.” Behrend Farms in Aberdeen, Idaho, had 1,500 acres when Nic Behrend joined his father, Paul, in 1993. Since then, the farm has grown to nearly 5,000 acres. Behrend insists a culture of improving efficiency has been the key to his farm’s success. Behrend says potatoes are his focal point, and his farm specializes in a single variety, Russet Burbank. More