Farm profits down as 2015 ends

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

RICHMOND — America’s farmers probably will see lower profits this year, according to the latest forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Virginia farmers are likely to be among them.

“Farm profitability peaked in 2013, which saw high prices not only in row crops but also the livestock sector,” said Jonah Bowles, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation senior agriculture market analyst. “Livestock is still, for the most part, a profitable sector, but some row crops are no longer profitable at the moment. And profits for Virginia farmers will follow the national trend, since beginning in the 1980s American agriculture has been influenced more by world prices than local sales.”

Virginia’s farm economy is more dependent on poultry, cattle and dairy than on row crops, and Bowles said those sectors are doing better than corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton this year. But cattle prices have tumbled.

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