Earlier this March, thousands of farmers and other agriculture workers from around the United States supported one another on the 44th anniversary of National Agriculture Day. This annual event provides all involved the ability to reflect on how important agriculture is in the United States and the rest of the world.
2016 and 2017 have been interesting years for agriculture. Net income made my all farmers across the country has fallen for the third straight year and is now at its lowest point since 2009. The current drop in farm profitability was actually the largest such drop since the Great Depression. While the drop in profitability during the Great Depression was due to a customer’s inability to pay for the crop, the profitability decline today could actually be more associated with too much productivity.
Over the past decade, the efficiency of farming has continued to grow. In fact, farmers today are produce nine times as much crops compared to what was grown in the 1930s. At the same time, they are able to do so while utilizing far less land. Today, the amount of crops grown is actually outpacing the need for food, which has helped to reduce the level of hunger across the world. There are now an estimated 5 billion bushels of crops stored all over the United States. While this has been great for the world, it has led to a reduction in the value of the crops.
With all of the excess crops sitting around, many are looking for better ways to put it to use. One of the most likely uses will be to continue to increase the usage of biofuel. There are already biofuel stations for consumers in 29 states across the country and there is now enough crop to help grow that number. This would also help to reduce the need to rely on foreign oil, which could provide additional economic benefits to the United States. At this point, the oil companies are fighting the plan, but it appears that more government intervention could come that will increase the production of biofuel across the country.