Land O'Lakes CEO calls for investment in rural America

Beth Ford says small towns, hit by ag challenges, "are rolling up on us."

 

By Adam Belz, Star Tribune (MN) 

January 9, 2020

 

Rural America is “the new inner city,” said Beth Ford, the CEO of Land O’Lakes, and it needs significant investment.

 

Farm consolidation, oversupply, an aging farmer population, labor shortages, lack of access to high-speed internet and lender reluctance to finance agriculture are all conspiring against rural areas, and small towns “are rolling up on us.”

 

Ford gave the keynote address at the 2020 Regional Economic Conditions Conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on Thursday. She also spoke briefly with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and took questions from the audience.

 

Here are 10 points she made about the agriculture economy at the start of 2020.

 

1. Consolidation is happening across agriculture because of oversupply ...

 

2. Widows own about 60% of the farmland in Iowa ...  

 

3. Dairy farmers survive by taking other jobs ...  

 

4. Farmers are raising wages for help, but can’t find people who want to do the work ...  

 

5. She views rural America as ‘the new inner city.’ ...  

 

6. Big corn and soybeans aren’t going away soon ...  

 

7. She backed government subsidies for farmers ...  

 

8. She razzed Cargill ...  

 

9. Economies of scale are winning in farming ...  

 

10. She prefers meat hamburgers to plant-based ...  

 

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http://www.startribune.com/10-points-about-the-farm-economy-from-land-o-lakes-ceo/566845922/