Brownfield: Iowa producer says farmers need changes to survive

by Larry Lee | March 6, 2019

An Iowa hog producer says farmers need more control and some reforms to bring farm prices and the rural economy up.

Chris Peterson from Clear Lake, Iowa is semi-retired, but he is still raising hogs. He says, “The farm bankruptcies, the bankers are having the jitters and everything else, (and) the margins being so narrow, it’s tough times.” Peterson tells Brownfield part of the problem with low margins and high input costs is because of consolidation in agribusiness. “You know, you’re hearing it out in the countryside. I had some guy the other day saying, ‘My God, $350 or more for a bag of seed corn. That’s ridiculous.’ and I attribute a lot of that stuff going on to mergers because there’s no competition out there anymore.”

Peterson also says the checkoff system is working against small farmers. “As a pig farmer, I have to pay into a checkoff system that I feel has left independent family farm agriculture. It’s all the big packers. It’s about contract growers. They’re not getting a fair share out of this system for what they do.”

Peterson says there are many things that need to be made right so a farmer can put some money in his pocket, pay the bills, and support his family.

Peterson spoke with Brownfield during the National Farmers Union convention in Belleview, Washington. Listen to the entire interview here: