With crop prices, farmland values and farm incomes all in a period of sustained declines, there is no shortage of gloom about the current state of farm finances.

But while farmers are facing much more difficult times than a few short years ago, there are a few reasons for optimism in these troubling times, according to speakers at the Iowa Farm Bureau 2016 Economic Summit.

The drop in farmland values has not been as severe as some predicted, said Steve Bruere, president of Peoples Company land brokerage. Limited land offerings for sale have helped stabilize prices, he said.

And, he noted, the price pullback has created opportunities for some farmers and investors to purchase farmland at a reasonable price.

Even with values down from their peak, farmland remains one of the best investments available, said Bruere. Interest rates remain low, and there are few...