MFBF President Testifies Before House Agriculture Subcommittee

In testimony presented to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, MFBF President Kevin Paap commented on the financial health of farm country.

“Financial stress – it is here, it is real and it will be challenging for many,” said Paap. “With significantly lower commodity prices and our direct and overhead costs of land rent, seed, fertilizer, etc. not coming down, farmers are losing $50 to $100 dollars per acre. We are spending our cash on cash flow losses, we are burning our working capital.”

“I believe you can best describe the financial health of farm country in two words, ‘it depends,’” said Paap. “Agriculture is comprised of varying sectors where some face good years, and others more challenging.”

President Paap stated that the effects of avian influenza on Minnesota poultry farmers is devastating and has rippling effects on the economy outside of the farms. But there are still bright spots in other areas. The weather this spring has allowed farmers to have timely planting with rainfall and sunshine.

Paap also addressed the need to help beginning farmers.

“As a fourth generation farmer and father, I cannot help but think about the next generation,” said Paap. “Generational sustainability is critical to agriculture. Farmers are an aging population. We need the tools to help our beginning farmers, and the most effective tool for young farmers is risk management.”

Paap concluded recognizing the many opportunities ahead for farmers.

“Farmers must be able to see the train wreck ahead of us and be ready to manage the things we can manage,” said Paap. “There will be many opportunities ahead, all we need to do is hold it together through this current financial stress.”

Minnesota Farm Bureau – Farmers ● Families ● Food is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureau associations across Minnesota. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public. Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education for children. Join Farm Bureau today and support efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota,