The net worth of farmers is growing. Good news – it is always gratifying to see hard work rewarded.
Keep in mind that they are making a good living because of rising commodity prices, not because of some labor or capital-saving innovation. Farmers in this banner-year are doing pretty much the same thing they did in the last decade and the one before that. The extra bucks are great, but they are probably not due to factors within the farmers’ control. It is just a cycle. When you grow bulk quantities of fungible stuff, you take the price the market offers. Right now that is not such a bad thing.
The last time farmers did this well, in the early 80’s, prosperity led to a speculative agricultural land boom. When crop prices fell, the boom went bust. The subsequent changes to agricultural policy fundamentally altered the way food is made. This time around, when commodity prices fall, as they always do, it will be interesting to see if these changes will make for a softer landing.