Not A Bad Year For No-Tillers… All Things Considered

While 2009 brought a decrease in net farm income, No-Till Farmer readers weathered a year where grain prices dropped dramatically

You don’t need a reminder of the current economic conditions.

While unemployment runs about 10% — some economists say the actual number may be more like 17% — results from our 2nd annual No-Till Practices Survey of No-Till Farmer readers suggests that the ag industry is a light in an otherwise dark place.

That’s not to say that farm profits are anywhere near as good as they were prior to 2009. In fact, 471 respondents to our comprehensive survey report that they saw an overall decrease in their net incomes of $4,831 per farm, or a drop of 1.2% over the previous year. In 2008, net profits rose by $62,125 per farm, or 13%.

Among the seven regions in the United States we surveyed, only one region reported an increase in net profitability over the previous year.

Farmers in the Southern Plains, which comprises Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, reported a 7.7% increase in net profitability. This is likely due to the fact many growers in that region saw drought conditions relent with some abundant moisture that led to higher crop yields.

This summary of net profitability is just one of many significant conclusions drawn from this exclusive ag industry survey — the second in an annual report for the Spring Buyer’s Directory issue of No-Till Farmer’s Conservation Tillage Guide.

A 4-page survey was mailed at random in early February to 2,500 subscribers from 22 states around the Midwest and bordering states (See adjacent map.) Nearly 19% completed and returned the…

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Darrell Bruggink

Executive Editor/Publisher

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