An Iowa State University report shows that farmers statewide continue to face a bleak economic outlook.
Forty-four percent of producers can't pay their bills, even as the Trump administration provided bailout packages, according to the report.
Researchers focused on farmers’ ability to cover short-term liabilities such as seed, fertilizer and herbicides with easily accessible assets such as cash, stored grain and market-ready livestock, the Des Moines Register reported.
The report’s author, ISU economist Alejandro Plastina, said that it has become more difficult for producers to earn anything. He tied their woes to a tough growing season and little to nonexistent room for improvement in pricing.
A problem which dates back almost a decade, worsened with international trade tensions between the U.S. and China, two of the world’s largest economies. Since doling out the first few millions two years ago in an effort to sustain cash-strapped farmers in the Hawkeye State, the Trump White House has allocated close to $30 billion. According to Plastina, the bailouts all but turned the tide.
The Washington-based Environmental Working Group said in its analysis released over the summer that producers in the Hawkeye State received more than $300 million in subsidies during the first quarter of this year as part of the Trump administration’s $16 billion aid package.
The harvest season began almost two months ago with many of the state’s farmers having little to be excited about. Several Iowa business leaders took it upon themselves to convince the state’s congressional delegation to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Ohio State University agricultural lending data showed that Iowa’s $18.9 billion farm debt is the highest level in the nation while its loan delinquency rate was 1.5 percent.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts farm debt nationwide to balloon to a record high of $416 billion.