MARSHALL (KMHL) – There was a large turnout from area farmers to hear from U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) at a town hall forum in Marshall Thursday.
Farmers are in a difficult situation as they are deciding if they will plant their corn crop as June approaches or if they will preventative plant instead.
Peterson, who is the chairman of the House Ag Committee, said he didn’t have a lot of definite information for farmers as they are trying to make the decision, but he suggested that farmers do what makes the most economic sense for their farm.
The message to farmers was that he knows the situation is bad right now with prices depressed, trade tariffs and the spring weather.
“We’re in the situation like the 80’s,” said Peterson. “People may not realize it, but we’re there. These bankers are worried and I’ve been worried for two years, I’ve been talking about this for two years, but no one would listen to me, it’s bad.”
He worries that the facilitation payments to farmers that are being discussed in Washington may do more harm than good. He said it will force farmers in this region to plant more soybeans because to receive the payments they need to get a crop in the ground – but he adds that more soybeans are not needed right now.
And Peterson knows if the corn crop doesn’t get planted, the financial problems could spread beyond the farm.
“It’s not just the banks, it’s the co-ops, the other suppliers, it’s going to be bad,” added Peterson. “I don’t know how to put a good spin on it.”
He said that he doesn’t agree with lawmakers working on the facilitation payment to farmers right now. Peterson added that he believes the payments could actually influence planting decisions more than any other factor at this time.
Peterson also fielded questions from farmers concerned about dairy, hog, beef and crop plants from across the region. The full event was broadcast live on 1400 AM and 101.7 FM KMHL – and streamed live at www.marshallradio.net.
The event included comments from farm broadcaster Lynn Ketelsen from the Linder Farm Network and was emceed by Marshall Radio News Director Aaron Ziemer.
You can listen to the full broadcast below.