Corn prices plummet

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Corn is everywhere. It’s in food and is used in ethanol to run people’s vehicles.

Area farmers will only get half as much money for their corn crops this year since the price for corn has dipped sharply over the past 12 months. Instead of $7 a bushel, the most they can now hope for is $4 a bushel.

WKBN 27 investigative reporter Amanda Smith found two big problems the price drop could cause right here in the Valley: Having a lower price for corn will eventually cost consumers more at the grocery store and hurt real estate prices.

From last year’s record highs to this year’s three-year-lows, experts are trying to make sense of the market.

“I would say at this point, producers can still be making money at current levels and covering their costs,” said grain marketer Jennifer Pemberton.

When corn prices are low, farmers can’t pay as much for the land where it’s grown. This drives down the real estate market.

“This is a factor in most farmers’ minds when they are buying land. In this area, it has included a little bit of leveling off or less of an increase in land prices,” said Stan Brown, a farm appraiser with Mid-America Farm Credit.

Our area never saw the hyper-inflated prices for farm land and farm rents. Further west, land values are dropping and farmers are swapping to other, more profitable crops.

In Mahoning County, everyone is taking a wait-and-see approach before switching to soy or other grains. There won’t be a great impact on at the grocery story, at least not yet.

“If you see corn prices double, you might see a nickel cent rise in your Cornflakes,” Pemberton said.

The impact of prices that stay lower for an extended time will first be felt in the farming industry and then ripple out through the economy.

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