The Economy and Your Farm

Yesterday, I spent some time talking to Dr. Danny LeRoy, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Lethbridge.  We spoke at great length about the economy and the affect it will have on agriculture.  I was speaking to Dr. LeRoy for research that I was doing for my Grainews column.  To say that Dr. LeRoy is concerned about the situation would be an understatement.  Here as excerpt from the column that I wrote to be released in the next issue of Grainews.  

I spoke with Associate Professor in Agricultural Economics at the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Danny LeRoy about what will be the impact of this economy on farmers.  Dr. LeRoy states that €œrealistically the amount of agricultural products produced is not going to substantially change in 2009 but the environment and risks for farmers will.€  Dr. Leroy continued, €œThe farms most at risk are the ones that are relying on cheap credit.  If interest rates were to rise due to inflation with commodity prices continuing to drop, it will be a shock to the farming system.  It might create a financial situation that reminds us of the 1980€™s.€

As Dr. Leroy stated to me, the two things that farmers need to be the most concerned about is currency volatility and regulation.  Speculation is growing that the Canadian Dollar could be headed higher again in the next twelve months.  This feeling is present due to the continued spiraling economic situation in the United States and oil is bound to catch a bullish move based on the over selling that has taken place in the last 6 months.  The new administration in the US seems to be leaning more towards protectionism on agricultural products which is a  significant threat to Canada.  Use what we learned from country of origin labeling and be fearful of these sort of trade tactics.  
Sometimes all of this economic and political talk seems not applicable to our daily concerns but the reality is that it is closer to the farm than you think.  With agriculture in Canada needing trade to survive in the long term, regulation and currency are huge concerns for Canadian farmers in this poor global economy.    
 

Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4:30 PM est. @shaunhaney

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One Comment

John Huvenaars

I read with interest the thoughts about the future of Agriculture from the University professor. I would have to say I hold a more optimistic view of the future. Certainly a rise in interest rates would be detrimental as many have taken advantage of investing with the low rates we have had but I believe more of the people in farming today are better capitalized, have a skill set, education and access to advisers that make them better at managing farming as a business.
I wholeheartedly agree with regulation being an impediment to the future. We get all these bureaucrats, that haven’t walked a mile in our shoes, conceiving regulations which we are expected to carry the risk of and cost of implementing.

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