Clouds At Harvest Time

In Iowa the economy of each particular year is a reflection of that year’s harvest. Some years are good; some are bad. At the moment 2016 doesn’t seem to have the makings of a good year.

I was reading an article in The Des Moines Register by Kevin Hardy and Donnelle Eller entitled “Is Iowa Heading For A Recession?” which explores this subject.

It is a truism that if there is an economic downturn one year, there will always be a rebounding of the economy a few years down the line. For many farmers the downturns can be particularly painful. It’s their livelihood. And since Hardy and Eller’s article is dated February 10th of this year, this year’s story is not over. There is still a strong possibility of a recession in 2016.

What is different about this year? For one thing, on first glance there are examples which make the economy seem more robust than it actually is. First of all, many Iowans are fully employed, gas prices are not intolerable and the state is not lacking in revenue. So where is the problem? The problem lies in what the authors call “a sagging agricultural market.” The harvests have not been good this year – either in Iowa or other states. The authors cite the fact that the nations farm income might fall to the lowest it has been since 2002. It is true that there are positive signs in areas such as housing and commercial development, which could spur the economy – but an agricultural slowdown might conceivably offset the growth in these areas. Right now it is harvest time in Iowa and we wish the farmers the best of luck

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