Wall Street Troubles Hitting Panhandle Farmers

Dee Vaughan
Dee Vaughan

Stock market nose dives on Wall Street are slamming the farming industry here in the Panhandle region.  We spoke with a farmer who says just a few months ago crop prices were high. But the economy's rapid downward spiral has changed that.

Dee Vaughan says he and others were blind sided by the mortgage crisis snowballing into a national crisis. That snowball effect has had a drastic impact on the cost of crops. He says, "everything we grow in this part of the country, corn, cotton, soybeans, have dropped significantly all summer long."

But in the last two weeks, the price of those commodities have hit rock bottom...as input costs have remained the same. Vaughan says, "fertilizer, fuel, feed, chemicals, all are staying high but the price we receive here at the farm is going down dramatically."

While most have their products contracted out for this year, they are facing a tough question for next year: "do we sell now or hold off and hope the situation changes?"

But one banker says there is a silver lining....for consumers. Rick Reinart at Happy State Bank says steak is cheaper and bread may get cheaper.

Both Reinart and Vaughan agree that until the stock market is stabilized, the commodities market will remain volatile.

Here's something you may not know: more people are buying hamburgers when they go out to eat instead of steaks, which is driving down the cost of cattle and in turn lowering the cost of corn.