Thursday, March 24, 2011

High farmland prices put some Missouri family farmers out of business

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (MISSOURI DIGITAL NEWS) - Record high farmland prices are putting some of Missouri's family farmers out of business.

Across the Midwest, farmland prices are increasing to levels higher than ever before.

Estil Fretwell, a spokesperson for the Missouri Farmers Bureau, says the high costs of crop products and increased competition for land has driven this sudden boom. Fretwell says the surge in land prices will discourage the next generation of farmers.

"If younger people, if it's more difficult for them to first get involved in farming because of pricing going up, it's going to discourage people from getting involved in farming. So certainly that's a concern," Fretwell says.

But Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's econmist Brian Briggeman says an increase in farmland values will bring more money to struggling rural communities.

"Those property taxes are set based off the value of farmland in general in most palces. And as those values continues to rise that could increase tax revenues potentially. The price of farmland in Missouri has increased 6.6 percent in some parts of Missouri this year alone," Briggeman says.

Republican Koeltztown Representative Tom Loehner is sponsoring a bill to help young farmers.

Under the bill, struggling farmers could lease land at reasonable prices from the state.

There was no opposition to the bill in its committee hearing.

Elizabeth Hagedorn, Missouri Digital News


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