2010 ag status report: Are Wisconsin farmers weathering the storm?

“Following two years of generally fond memories, most Wisconsin farmers suffered through a year they would like to forget.” So writes Ed Jesse, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, in the executive summary of the soon-to-be published Status of Wisconsin Agriculture, 2010. Economists and commodity specialists in the college and elsewhere have worked furiously over the past several weeks to assemble copy for the publication. Even as the publication is being formatted for printing, numbers and analyses are being amended as additional data becomes available. The finished product will be made available at the 2010 Wisconsin Agricultural Economic Outlook Forum on Jan. 20. It will also be mailed to interested parties and made available online on the Agricultural and Applied Economics department website.

Jesse and some colleagues conceived the annual report, originally called Status of Wisconsin Farming, nearly a quarter-century ago in response to serious financial problems besetting farmers in the mid-1980s. Most of the authors of the early reports, including Jesse, Bob Cropp, Bruce Jones, Bill Dobson, Randy Fortenberry and Pat Luby, have written the situation and outlook section of every issue since. In recent years, horticulture professor A.J. Bussan has written about the status of the state’s vegetable industry.

In addition to the situation and outlook reports, the publication includes a special topics section titled Framing the Financial Crisis for Wisconsin Agriculture. Articles in that section include:

  • Regional Differences in the Response to Low Milk Prices:Herd Size, Production and Profitability, by Brian Gould
  • The Importance of International Trade to Wisconsin Agriculture, by Ed Jesse and Steven Deller
  • A Scan of the Farm-Level Financial Situation At the End of 2009, by Paul Dietmann (DATCP)
  • Price Stability in an Era of Roller-Coaster Rides, by Brad Barham
  • Income Tax Consequences of Farm Financial Distress, by Phil Harris

Funding for Status ofWisconsin Agriculture is provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Program on Agricultural Technology Studies and by generous contributors to the University of Wisconsin Foundation. CALS communication staffers Diane Doering and Bob Mitchell lend production and distribution assistance.