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Lenders: Farmers adjusting to tougher economics

Lenders: Farmers adjusting to tougher economics
Clark Dolch, an Adair County Farm Bureau member who manages the Orient branch of Farmers and Merchants State Bank checks cattle.

As the high corn and soybean prices of a few years ago become more distant in the rearview mirror, most Iowa farmers are adjusting to an economic environment of continued low commodity prices and extremely tight margins, lenders and economists said.

Working with their lenders and others, farmers are closely scrutinizing all their costs, including family living expenses, to look for areas to cut costs without hurting income potential. Many are looking for ways to sharpen their marketing skills to capture higher prices out of the stubbornly-low markets. There is also a push among some farmers to find ways to add income sources, such as contract livestock, alternative crops or off-farm employment.

“I think there is a clear realization now that there are not likely to be any quick fixes out there,” said Jim Knuth, senior vice president for Farm Credit Services of America, who is based in Perry. “People are starting to see that this is the new...




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