A 'rough road' ahead for agriculture

Colorado's agriculture economy could be in for big trouble.

KUSA - Ag Day is supposed to be the big annual celebration of Colorado's farming and ranching industries, but as farmers take over the State Capitol Wednesday, the official forecast for the year says they're looking down the barrel of a crisis.

The forecast predicts farmers may have a "rough road ahead” -- which could last for a couple of years.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s forecast this year calls for farm profits nearly 80 percent lower than where they were in 2011.

Department officials says that's partly because a lot of farmers are older, and their kids aren't picking up the trade.

The prices farmers get, however, for what they grow have also dropped by roughly half in a lot of cases.

A lot our staple crops like beef, corn, and wheat are really hurting right now.

Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown says it's a supply and demand problem.

"When all the stars line up, and everybody has a great crop, we just have an excess of production. So the marketplace says, I can buy it cheaper-- so it buys it-- it finds its equilibrium," he said.

The state's report was looking at two ways to curb losses: exports and oil and natural gas leases.

After the Transpacific Partnership was scuttled, exports seem a less likely solution.

Natural gas land leases are hampered by low oil and gas prices.

Brown says they'll be looking to boost awareness among lawmakers Wednesday.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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