ALMA, GA (WTOC) - Farmers and others got a forecast Wednesday that has little to do with the weather.
Many from Southeast Georgia met in Alma for the 2016 Ag Forecast conference. They waded through an hour of data to see a less than sunny market outlook. No big jump anytime soon in what farmers earn for growing crops and raising livestock.
"We're seeing some pretty depressed commodity prices right now. And that's got farmers concerned," said Chris Hopkins, farmer.
Some of the info told farmers what they already knew - some companies buy as much imported food as they do crops raised here. That's driven down the price farmers can expect, even when their operation costs keep rising.
"This is looking like one of those years where you want to try and hang on and stay in business. We're seeing a lot of downward pressure on prices for livestock and the row crop sector," said UGA Center for Agribusiness Director Dr. Kent Wolfe. "One of the problems is, if you look around us, it's a global economy. We've had bumper crops around the world in different commodities."
The challenges farmers face affect more than just them. Hopkins works in the tractor business and knows how rural economies rise and fall with their farmers.
"When farmers are successful, that ripple effect goes all over the community. It goes from furniture stores to car dealers. That ripple effect gets felt by all," said Hopkins.
Wolfe's advice Wednesday was for farmers to do their best to stay in business until things can improve.
The University of Georgia, Georgia Farm Bureau and others come together to host the conference in a different city each day this week.