South Dakota Farmers Face Challenges
Saturday, December, 5, 2015
South Dakota farmers are faced with a great deal of stress concerning this year’s harvest and the potential for next year’s to be equally as disappointing. Prices are their main concern – especially since those prices aren’t meeting their input costs. Now, a government mediation program could help them resolve any financial disputes they face over pricing.
Soybean and corn farmers planted more than 10 million acres worth of crops this year. The prices for the harvest were anywhere from $.75 per acre to $3.50 per acre less than what the farmers invested. Even with great yields – which occurred this year – there is no way to make the gap workable. The market would need to rebound by next year’s harvest for farmers to even break even. This year farmers will be helped by farm bill program payments, but farmers only receive these payments due to production or price shortfalls, and much of the money they are receiving this year are going toward filling the gaps of last year.
The mediation program will be offered at the state and federal levels, and will provide assistance when producers and their financial institutions are trying to work out differences. The program was created in 1988 and is known as the Farm Loan Mediation program, but often called agricultural mediation. The program brings together farmers and lenders in an environment with a neutral third-party to assist with resolving the disputes. Everything is confidential and voluntary, and can be either binding or non-binding. Agricultural creditors must request mandatory mediation before taking any legal action if a debt is $50,000 or more.