With U.S. agriculture cycling into an era of lower prices and much tighter margins, many younger farmers are likely to experience severe financial stress for the first time in their careers.

To help young farmers weather a potential downturn, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) set up a panel of four state Farm Bureau presidents at the recent AFBF annual meeting in San Antonio. The four state presidents spoke about their experiences during the 1980s farm crisis years and offered advice on how to deal with tougher financial times.

The panelists’ advice for young farmers: have patience for long-term business plans to work out; look for ways to diversify your income sources when possible; keep good records and close contact with lenders; and work together with others in organizations like Farm Bureau that represent agriculture.

And above all, the Farm Bureau leaders ...