Helping the economy: farmers have successful year

An overall lackluster economy is masking a bright spot: the farm economy.

Despite isolated droughts and floods that have ruined some Midwest crops this spring, times are generally good for U.S. farmers.

And that is creating a financial trickle-down throughout agriculture-related industries. Sales of big farm implements, for example, are strong.

Net income at John Deere & Co. doubled in the first half of this year compared with the same time last year. And that’s good news for more than just Deere.

“When farmers buy a $300,000 combine, the people at the factory who build the combine have jobs, the parts supplier has jobs, the truckers who take the stuff up and down the highways have jobs, and I make a living off a farmer,” said Greg Schwartz, who sells agricultural implements at the Heritage Tractor dealership in Baldwin City, Kan.

Even the government’s report last week that the corn crop is likely to be smaller this year sent farm machinery company stocks higher based on the upward push that report gave to corn prices — fostering the expectation that more farm equipment will be bought.

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