These unfiltered thoughts reflect what we’ve been hearing in general for the past few years, as the average income made on the farm has not been enough to cover input costs, let alone pay for health care and property taxes. Prices were low even before the Trump administration tariffs prompted retaliation from our allies, with tariffs of their own on U.S. agriculture driving down prices even more, and mergers of large agribusinesses decreasing competition and raising input costs.
Then, of course, there’s the weather, the biggest factor farmers can’t control, which has been particularly devastating in Minnesota this spring with floods.
“We have too much water,” Ted Suss, Redwood County President, put simply at the Winthrop discussion. “The farm down the road from me is flooded three or four times a year now.”
It’s just one symptom of the changing climate, which was brought up at all three of the discussions we’ve had.
The depressed agricultural economy and all the forces that have come with it have led to population declines in our small towns, which means schools have consolidated and it’s harder to do business there, including starting farms of your own. It was clear from what we heard that rural Minnesotans want to see real action to solve these problems.
We hear you, and we’re getting your message out there with the Legislature, the Walz administration and the media. Additionally, we livestreamed all of the discussions on our Facebook page, so they were viewed by hundreds of people outside of those in attendance. Several newspapers and radio stations covered the discussions as well.
We do hope to reschedule the Granite Falls Rural Voices Discussion and cover other areas of the state as well. Stay posted on mfu.org/events and the weekly e-news for updates.