Weathering The Perfect Storm: What’s To Come In The Ag Industry Economy

Is this the new normal? And if you're not in agriculture, why should you care?

Looking for predictions on how the region’s economy is going to fare in the not–too–faraway future?

You might want to talk to an agricultural economics specialist.

North Dakota’s growers and ranchers are weathering a perfect storm of rough conditions for turning a profit.

The western half of the state is suffering under a serious drought that’s slowly creeping eastward.

And that’s hitting farmers hard after five long years of lowered market prices for the products they make like corn and cattle.

If farmers don’t have spare cash to spend, like they have in years past, that will affect non-ag businesses here in the Red River Valley. Metro area businesses and residents may not grasp how they’ve been the beneficiaries of farmers who were in a position to live “high on the hog” before times got lean.

“They were coming to town and buying cars,” said Lynn Paulson, Director of Agribusiness Development at Bell Bank, of the past few years. “They were coming in and helping their kids buy houses, buying apartments for themselves. They were buying equipment, they were, the farmers, goosing the economy locally, that kind of thing.”

Paulson is joining international author and ag speaker David Kohl on Wednesday in Moorhead and Fergus Falls to talk about the future of the ag industry – or what Paulson calls “the new normal,” in which as much as a third of our current producers are looking getting out of the industry.

What: Good to Great in Agriculture: Vision 2025, sponsored by Bell Bank

Who: David Kohl, ag finance author and speaker

Lynn Paulson, Bell Bank senior vice president and director of agribusiness development

When & Where: 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 2, M State, 1414 College Way, Fergus Falls, Minn. (Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 2, Courtyard by Marriott, 1080 28th Ave. S. Moorhead. (Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.)