The Status and Changing Face of Ohio Agriculture
by: Ani Katchova, Associate Professor and Farm Income Enhancement Chair, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University
Farmers deal with many stressors, most of which are out of their control: extreme weather, market changes, COVID-19, trade wars, fluctuating market prices, and environmental challenges. In 2019 particularly, a harsh winter followed by high spring and early summer rainfall led to damaged hay fields, delays in the planting of corn and soybean crops, and an inability to harvest early season crops in a timely manner. Tariffs on exported farm products led to declines in soybean and corn prices and contributed to uncertainty about the long-term security of global trade relationships. Growing attention to harmful algal blooms and other water quality challenges has increased pressure on farmers to reduce nutrient runoff from farm fields. Is this an unprecedented time in history, or have farmers experienced similar levels of stress in the past? It’s helpful to place current events in the context of long-term trends. Researchers from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences explored 20 years of data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture and multiple public sources to understand long-term trends in Ohio. Here’s what they discovered.