For Minnesota farmers, 2020 was nothing like they expected and surprisingly profitable


January 11, 2021

Jim Slosiarek • Associated Press

A farmer planted corn at sunset near Walford, Iowa, in April. An August derecho windstorm reduced the output on 20% of Iowa's farmland.

At the start of 2020, Minnesota's livestock farmers looked out and saw a fairly good year ahead. Dairy farmers had just enjoyed a price rebound that lifted their financial hopes while corn and soybean growers feared another year of low prices and abundant crops.

Today, nothing looks like it did a year ago for Minnesota's food-growing industry, the nation's sixth-largest by revenue. A wrenching disruption upended hog farming, and milk producers teetered as the coronavirus pandemic spread last spring.

But corn and soybean growers flourished, after extreme weather and a surge in exports bolstered prices. "It turned out to be a way better year than what we thought it was going to be," said Tim Little, a corn and soybean farmer near Faribault.


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