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Iowa farmers are about ready to harvest the second-largest corn and soybean crops on record, but the Des Moines Register says the state’s fields are filled with fear. “I’ve never seen such nervousness on the eve of a harvest,” said Kyle Phillips, who has farmed 2,800 acres in Marion County west of Knoxville since 1974.
“Iowa farmers have more at stake than ever,” reports Dan Piller. Average net income rose 70 percent from 2003 to ’07 and land values have more than doubled. But farmers know that every boom has a bust around the corner. Piller wrote, “But farmers remember the grim lessons from two decades ago. When profits disappear, paper land wealth dissolves as well. They fear the good times for agriculture may be fleeting.”
Sure, prices are higher, but so is the cost of fuel, seed and fertilizer. Deere has said it will raise farm implement prices 9 percent for combines by the end of the year. Meanwhile, $8 a bushel corn has dropped to $5.50.