Predictions indicate low prices here to stay in 2016, 2017

By Morgan Chilson
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Originally published on March 26, 2016

“Donn Teske, a rancher and president of the Kansas Farmers Union, joked that “when you farm, you don’t need to go to Vegas.”

“A lot of the old-timers are recollecting memories of the 1980s, and that isn’t a good thing,” he said of current conditions. “You know, with the cost of equipment we’re (using) now, it’s kind of like adding a decimal point to the debt, compared to 30 years ago. That said, at this point, we have good values on both machinery and land that maintained the equity base that’s so important. What happened in the 1980s was land dropped by over 50 percent in value.”

With steep drops in commodity prices — the average corn price per bushel in June 2011 was $6.38 and in 2015, it was $3.58, according to University of Illinois data — farmers nationwide struggled to meet their debt requirements.

“My operating line of credit didn’t get paid off this year, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people just like me out there,” Teske said.

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