Farmers and Ranchers Brace for a Difficult Year

DeDe Jones, AgriLIFE Extention Risk Management Specialist
DeDe Jones, AgriLIFE Extention Risk Management Specialist
Dale Artho, Local farmer and rancher
Dale Artho, Local farmer and rancher

It is expected to be the worst agricultural season area producers have seen for years.

Many farmers are already facing financial stresses and  their financial strains are impacting our local economy as a whole.

Because of the uncertain economy and drought conditions, lenders are less willing to loan to producers, the Dow Jones is having a negative impact the value of their products, and input costs are on the rise.

DeDe Jones, an Amarillo AgriLIFE Extention Risk Management Specialist says, "So between those three things its not going to be a real good year."

Local farmer and rancher Dale Artho says he is holding off on large purchases and trying to buy supplies out of season to get the best deals.

"If you are asking me if I'm broke, no I'm not broke, I don't want to be but is there more risk in what I do today, substantially more risk. Much more than I'm comfortable with."

And because of this financial stress some economists tell me they expect some producers to be closing their gates for good.

"I think if there's any that are going to be borderline this year, this may be the year that some of them go out of business and if that happens they are going to have to find alternative work which is hard if you've been farming for 20 or 30 years," says Jones.

Producers are large contributors to the local economy and Jones says if they are tightening their belts, we will have to as well.

"There's also a possibility that when ones goes out of business we are going to see tightening in the stores. You know I think we've seen a rise in food costs and I think that will probably continue."

Jones says dairy farmers and ranchers are struggling the most. For financial advice, producers are urged to call their AgriLIFE extention office.