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Income, expenses discussed in grain growers workshop

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Bryon Parman, NDSU Extension, Fargo, talks to area farmers about markets and operational costs during a recent forum in Minot.

The best year for farm income in the United States was in 1973. The worst income year for farmers was 1983. The last five years have been somewhat below the long-term average.

Those were some of the facts provided by Bryon Parman, NDSU Extension Service, Fargo, at the Best of the Best in Wheat Research and Marketing workshop sponsored by the North Dakota Grain Growers Association and the ND Wheat Commission. The workshop was held Feb. 14 in Minot.

Parman told that group that producers’ debt to income ratio began increasing in 2011. Parman said that was especially the case in farms that continue to get bigger. Overall farm debt, he said, is currently close to the high of 1983 but added that it, “was not necessarily a bad thing.” Parman noted that U.S. farm income increased 10.2% in 2019.

A big contributor to increased income on the farm, stated Parman, was a decline in fertilizer prices over the past few years. While that cost savings is not within the control of the producer, Parman advised that farmers keep close watch on other necessary expenses.

“Buy your propane in April or May for the best pricing,” said Parman.

Sometimes producers purchase the bulk of their propane in late fall, primarily for use in drying of certain crops. But fall is also the time when propane prices can be on the rise due to increased demand for home heating. Often, said Parman, the amount of money saved by purchasing propane when the demand is low can be quite substantial.

Parman spoke before a filled convention room in Minot’s Clarion Hotel. Producers were eager to hear from him and an impressive list of knowledgeable presenters.

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