KUNC

         

Expectations of a bumper crop of corn has caused both  prices and farm profit expectations to drop. (United Soybean Board/Flickr)
Expectations of a bumper crop of corn has caused both prices and farm profit expectations to drop. (United Soybean Board/Flickr)

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

The farm income forecast comes on the heels of the news that farmers are expected to produce record levels of corn and soybeans this year. However, that bumper crop will cause prices to slide and Midwest farmers will feel the pinch.

Thousands of miles, and years, away from his upbringing on a Kansas farm during the height of the Great Depression, Wilson O’Connell now lives in the Boston suburbs. (Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media)
Thousands of miles, and years, away from his upbringing on a Kansas farm during the height of the Great Depression, Wilson O’Connell now lives in the Boston suburbs. (Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media)

Every year on my birthday I know there’s a thin, flat package waiting for me to open. It’s wrapped with neat corner folds and held together perfectly with just three pieces of tape – nothing wasted.

I always knock on the front and hear the crisp, deep thud of a hardcover book. I know it’s a book. And I know who it’s from.

Reading isn’t just a hobby for my grandparents, it’s a way of life. It’s a life lesson, it’s a value to live by. And it’s one they’ve passed down to their kids and their kids’ kids. But I didn’t really know why until I interviewed my grandfather about his early life growing up on a farm in central Kansas.

The Jan. 21, 1980, Time cover reporting on President Jimmy Carter's grain embargo against the Soviet Union
The Jan. 21, 1980, Time cover reporting on President Jimmy Carter's grain embargo against the Soviet Union

When headlines surfaced last week that Russia would block U.S. agricultural imports, the news seemed dire, or at the very least, unpredictable.

The day it was announced, markets reacted, with Agrimoney.com calling a surge in wheat prices the “Putin premium.”

Since then, most politicians, commodity groups and market watchers are, as this week’s headline in Businessweek said, “Russia bans food imports and many U.S. exporters shrug.”

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