Change not bad for farmers

Published 2:20 am Monday, January 26, 2009

FERRIDAY — Concordia Parish Extension Service Director Glen Daniels said times are changing for Concordia Parish farmers, but not all change is bad.

That was the message he delivered to the Ferriday Rotary Club, where he was the featured speaker at the club’s regular meeting Thursday.

Commodity prices are up and some production costs are down, but some things are going to be quite different, Daniels said.

Email newsletter signup

The biggest difference is going to be in the amount of cotton that the area sees planted, Daniels said.

“Cotton acreage is going to take a plunge,” he said.

“Cotton acreage is going to be between 10,000 and 15,000 acres,” he said. “That is an all-time low for Concordia Parish.”

That decrease in acreage was likely caused by the fact that cotton prices actually dropped after the enormous losses caused by last year’s hurricanes, and Daniels said that planting shift will send ripples throughout the cotton industry.

“It’s going to be pretty tough for the gins to operate,” he said.

But cotton’s losses are other commodities gains.

Because of the downward shift in cotton markets and upward swings for other farm futures, Daniels said he expects to see 90,000 acres of soybeans planted in the parish, as well as 14,000 acres of rice.

“That’s just a function of the prices,” he said.

And though the land rent for soybean fields has gone up, other input costs have fallen — for example, the price of Roundup herbicide has fallen from $24 to $16 a gallon, Daniels said.

“The bright spot is that these (current commodity) prices for the other commodities, they are at a place where farmers can make some money,” Daniels said.