Farmers Face Uncertain Times

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As fall begins, farmers markets are still in full swing, and agritourism farms are about to enter a busy season. Your local farmers are always happy to meet you when you come to shop or visit, but if you detect a note of worry behind that greeting smile, you’re probably on to something. Farmers are optimistic by nature, but they are grappling with
many uncertainties right now.

Here are just a few of the questions that could be weighing on a North Carolina farmer’s mind this fall, with no clear answers in sight: Will a farm bill that offers me important tools to plan for my business’ future pass on schedule? Will my crops bring in enough money to offset rising input costs and sustain the farm for another year? Will Congress approve a program to help my farm employ the legal, timely workers it needs? How will my family pay for health insurance in the face of skyrocketing premiums? Will I be able to continue to sell my farm’s goods to other countries, or will tariffs be too high? Will lawyers rally my neighbors to sue me, even though I obey the law and regulations? Will a bank agree to lend me the money I need to operate, or update equipment, or keep my buildings up to standards? Will the weather cooperate?

Some issues, like rising input costs and weather, are out of a farmer’s control, but many other issues require action by our elected officials and regulatory agencies. Our farmers and volunteer leaders do not just sit back and hope for action. Through our policy development process, we begin grassroots discussions that determine Farm Bureau’s positions going forward.

Farmers begin every season hoping for a bountiful crop to share with you. Farmers must be profitable to stay in business for years, and generations, to come. With all the risk, and all of the ups and downs, American agriculture has never failed to provide high quality, affordable products for our people.

As you visit farms and farm businesses this fall, take a minute to ask the farmers you meet how they’re doing, what’s on their mind and how you can help. Your local farmers are important contributors to your community, and they’d appreciate your interest and your support in these uncertain times.

– Larry Wooten

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