Missouri Farm Bureau wrapped up another great annual meeting in December, and this year’s theme focused on our organization being “Guided by Tradition.” One of those annual traditions is the Farmometer survey.
For nearly 30 years, annual meeting goers have had the opportunity to fill out the survey. By asking farm related questions each year, the survey has established trends that make it a true barometer of how our members feel about the state of agriculture.
The survey asks respondents how they would describe their operation, how they generally feel about the condition of their operation and agriculture in general. They’re given a list of ten challenges that face agriculture production and are asked to rank them. Finally (and to me, the most important question of all), they are asked if they would recommend that their children follow in their footsteps.
Those four questions provide a snapshot into the daily lives of farmers and ranchers throughout our agriculturally diverse state.
After back-to-back years of melancholy results, this year took a turn. Things are looking up.
Just shy of 40 percent of respondents stated that they were “more optimistic than a year ago” regarding their feelings towards the future of agriculture in our state, with 41 percent noting “no change” from 2022. That left less than 20 percent of Farm Bureau members feeling “more pessimistic” about the outlook. Not a bad start.
Similar to last year’s responses, input costs remain the biggest challenge facing farmers and ranchers; however, that number dropped from more than 50 percent labeling that as their No. 1 challenge to just over 30 percent. Government regulations – a frequent point of emphasis by our federation team – moved into the No. 2 spot at just over 20 percent, while commodity prices and securing adequate and affordable land landed in a dead heat at No. 3.
Lastly, I smiled at the answers to that most important question. Greater than 90 percent of respondents would recommend that future generations follow in their footsteps. It shows the resilience of the agriculture industry. Family farms make up hundreds of thousands of acres in the state, and we want to keep it that way.
Missouri Farm Bureau will continue to fight for those small farms and ranches throughout 2024, starting right out the gate with our focus on providing health plan options for rural Missourians. Agriculture is the life-blood of our state, and those in the profession are optimistic about the future. We’ll continue to have their backs.