theresia gillie

Theresia Gillie: Farming with Low Prices and High Costs

This week I attended Big Iron in Fargo, N.D., which is the big farm show in the Red River Valley. At our booth, many of our northern directors visited with farmers and consumers about the value of the checkoff and the importance of being a member of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

There were several learning sessions to participate in at Big Iron. On Wed., Sept. 16, I attended the marketing seminar, being that the markets and financing are two big concerns this year. The experts talked about how to handle the volatility of the markets, how to reduce costs, land values in this economy, supply and demand and where to find opportunities in these tough times.

We are all going to have to tighten our belts, look for lower expense costs, lock them in, cut some costs and most importantly, we are all going to have to look at financing a little differently. We will need to look to our loan officers for help and take advantage of any marketing rallies that come our way.

There is a strong El Niño coming. How will that effect our markets?

World issues in Brazil and Argentina are sill a concern. With their currency devalued, land values have plummeted, farm income is in the red and their input costs are very high. They cannot afford to clear any more land and their country still needs a lot of infrastructure improvements.

In the Black Sea region, they have had some improvement to their farming practices and their import and export infrastructure.

China’s growth has slowed to 5-6 percent and their Juan is devalued. Yet, they are putting billions of dollars into their agriculture infrastructure.

With that, net farm incomes around the world are all in the red, so we are not alone. It is easy to farm with high prices. But we can weather this storm by looking at all aspects of our farming operations.

There were a lot of new and innovative products at Big Iron to help us improve our profitability. According to an earlier Mankato Free Press article, our governor says farming practices harm water. More rules and regulations won’t help us, especially when we are already using conservation practices on our farms. We don’t need any more expense or red tape. Your voice and membership in MSGA is a valuable tool to speak up on behalf of your farm and your farming practices.

It is going to be a challenging year. As farmers, we weather the good and the bad. We are good at what we do. If farming was easy, everyone would do it.

Theresia Gillie is a soybean farmer from Hallock, Minn. She is Vice President of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and is chair of the Advocacy action team. Theresia can be reached at