If you are reacting to low commodity prices in your operation this year, you are not alone. Bill Farmakis, President of J.L. Farmakis, recently spoke with AgWired about their “Farmer Speaks Study.” The results, Farmakis says, were striking.
The study, conducted in February by Millennium Research, asked growers what they were thinking as they headed into the 2016 planting season. A full half of the farmers surveyed were seeking off-farm employment. And while off-farm jobs are common enough, Farmakis says the feelings around this current slump are that the financial position is more precarious than we’ve really talked about.
Another stat that stood out were the 74 percent of growers who planned to switch to generic products. Combing that with the significant number of growers who also plan to reduce traits in seeds and make changes to their fertilizer practices and agribusiness begins to feel the bite farmers are taking.
“I think you’re seeing, with Monsanto’s earnings yesterday and other’s earnings coming out last week, that you’re definitely seeing what, based on what we’re seeing in the study, is a reduced input in traits– which I think, again, ripple through the marketplace. And I think you’ve seen the equipment manufacturers cutting back too as they go through this trough,” Farmakis explains.
Growers are also planning to pay increased attention to marketing to increase revenue through better prices. Farmakis reports that many of the farmers surveyed plan to check markets multiple times a day.
“This is nothing new to agriculture,” Farmakis reminds us. “Producers have gone through this before and they’re managing better,” he says. Agriculture saw great markets in the past and it has certainly seen hard times as well.
J.L. Farmakis will be repeating the study in August and again next February to gather a greater understanding of the impact of commodity prices. You can read the results of this study here.
Hear the rest in the full interview: Interview with Bill Farmakis