Agriculture was the star of our April Eggs & Issues session. Gathered as panelists to share their expert insight into the issues were Lynn Paulson, senior VP & director of agribusiness development at Bell State Bank & Trust; Mike Krueger, president of Money Farm; and Andrew Swenson, extension farm and farm resource management specialist at North Dakota State University.
Bev Adams from Sanford Health moderated the discussion, and added a few of her own remarks. “The agriculture industry is one of the industries that has stood the test of time,” she said. “The Red River Valley is ground zero for some of the ag industry’s most innovative creators and producers. Currently, the agriculture industry is finding itself in a very precarious state.”
Swenson shared lots of data regarding ag’s impact locally. Over an 11-year period of time, the physical size of regional farms hasn’t changed, but gross cash income has more than doubled. 2012 was the best year, he said, and land values went up 40% in one year. In the years to follow, net income significantly dropped, but expenses went up. He also noted that farm debts are increasing.
North Dakota land values quadrupled from 2004 to 2013, which Swenson called “unprecedented,” though it’s turned in the last couple of years.
The average farmer is 59 years old now, so there will be a lot of transition coming, Paulson added, also touching on both the good and bad times from the lending perspective. “It used to be the 3 C’s of lending were things like collateral, conditions, capacity and character,” he said. “Now the 3 C’s are conservative in the good times, courageous in the tough times and consistent all the time.”
Following the panelist’s presentations, the audience was allowed to ask questions of the presenters, and judging by the number of questions, it seems safe to say that our business community truly knows and cares about the importance and longevity of ag in the region.
We were also happy to have David Berg of American Crystal Sugar take the stage to announce a new Chamber committee for Agribusiness.
Here’s some of the social media from the event!
— Sarah Miller (@sarah8150) April 5, 2016
— FMWF Chamber (@FMWFChamber) April 5, 2016
A photo posted by Peter Schott (@peetnd) on
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