Prices are so low that for the third consecutive year, most corn farmers will spend more than they earn. It’s a similar story for soybean producers.
That’s left farmers across the country cutting costs, dipping into savings or going further into debt to make it through the year.
Federal crop insurance and government payments will offer some help, and most farmers have an off-the-farm job or a spouse who supplements the family’s income.
But the drop in farm profits raises questions about agriculture’s boom-and-bust cycles and why people adhere to what at times is seemingly not a sustainable business model.