Inside Iowa State
October 9, 1998
Farm economy team will respond to ag issues
by John McCarroll
A team of Iowa State faculty and staff is working to ensure that ISU resources are available to respond to issues associated with the decline in farm commodity prices.
The ISU Farm Economy Team is an ad hoc group that includes representatives of all eight colleges, university extension and several administrative units. The team, formed in September, is identifying primary points of contact at ISU for farmers and others who are trying to deal with economic or other problems tied to the low commodity prices.
These market conditions may lead to questions about the federal farm program, options available to farmers, farm credit, personal finance, business outlooks, crop insurance, taxes and a variety of related human problems.
The Farm Economy Team is preparing an inventory of ISU services that are designed to support farmers and citizens tied to the farm economy.
Each of the 100 extension offices and each of the colleges already have been identified as primary points of contact. Others will be identified soon, according to Stan Johnson, vice provost for extension and head of the Farm Economy Team.
"We are mobilized to respond to questions and concerns about the impact of low farm prices. Our efforts are timely because the harvest is under way and farmers need to make financial decisions about their crops," Johnson said.
Information about the Farm Economy Team, including the names, telephone and fax numbers of the primary contacts, is available on a new Web site, "Farm Economy Issues," accessible from the extension web site, www.exnet. iastate.edu.
"We want to ensure we do all we can to provide timely assistance across the state," said President Martin Jischke. "We have the expertise to deal with a multitude of economic, business and human problems that are tied to the decline in farm commodity prices."
"Today's price situation certainly needs our attention, but it is not expected we will see a repeat of the farm crisis of the 1980s," said John Miranowski, chairman of the department of economics and expert in agricultural economics. "Unlike the 1980s, Iowa farmers today are carrying lower debt loads, interest rates are in the single digits and land values are stronger and more stable."
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