While Stock Values Rise, American Farmers Struggle
Leading measures of U.S. stocks have been setting records. Employment reports are making Americans feel good about the economy.
Yet many farmers in the United States are struggling.
Fertilizer and seed costs are rising at the same time demand and prices for crops are low. And the farmers' economic problems are affecting others.
The Farm Progress Show is one of the largest events for farmers in the world. It is a place where manufacturers and suppliers can demonstrate their new products and equipment. Farmers go to the show to learn how they can do their work more efficiently.
This year, the show was held in Decatur, Illinois.
Farmer Jeff Fisher went there, but all he could do was look.
The Illinois farmer told VOA he does not have enough money to buy the things he would like to have on his farm. Fisher has not been able to buy new equipment since he last made a profit -- five years ago.
"We're losing money where the cost of production of corn is higher than the price of corn on the Chicago Board of Trade and our local price."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports median net farm income in 2016 was the lowest since 2009. The department predicts there will be a small increase in earnings this year.
The lack of profit has hurt more than just farmers.
Tamara Nelsen is the Senior Director of Commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
"The Equipment Manufacturers Association released some pretty dismal numbers for farm equipment sales, and what that means to Caterpillar and Deere, that's troublesome."
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reported a 14 percent decrease in farm equipment exports for the first nine months of 2016. Sales dropped 44 percent from 2015 levels in Asia and 28 percent in South America.
Tamara Nelsen says a drop in equipment sales affects manufacturers that depend on farmers buying new equipment.
"If a farmer cannot afford to buy this, then those 25 workers that work to make it and the steelworkers who produce the steel, and all of the people involved in the parts, they are not going to have jobs either -- and so farmers need to have good markets just like manufacturers need to have good markets."
Mark Bremer is a farmer from southern Illinois.
Bremer grows corn and soybeans on his farm and raises livestock. Like Fisher, he is using old equipment.
"We would love to update, we'd love to purchase new technology and stuff, but that technology comes with a price -- they didn't develop [it] for free."
Bremer is not sure when he will have enough money to buy new equipment. And he is worried about the effect this year of a lack of rainfall will have on his crops.
"We're not guaranteed the rain, we're not guaranteed the price and we're not guaranteed the yield either so it's a continual challenge of making it."
There is also no guarantee that next year will be better. But farmer Jeff Fisher still has hope.
"We're in the bottom of that roller coaster, it feels like, ride right now -- I hope it doesn't get worse."
In a few weeks, he will begin harvesting his crops.
I'm Caty Weaver.
1.economic problems 经济问题
The country is beset by severe economic problems.
2.roller coaster 过山车
His hat blew away on the roller coaster.
3.get worse 转坏
The government has just stood on the sidelines up to now and let the situation get worse.
4.in the bottom of 位于...底部
There is some deposit in the bottom of the flask.
1.Fertilizer and seed costs are rising at the same time demand and prices for crops are low.
at the same time 同时
I was afraid of her, but at the same time I really liked her.
It's impossible to get everybody together at the same time.
2.And he is worried about the effect this year of a lack of rainfall will have on his crops.
a lack of 缺乏
I was hampered by a lack of information.
There is a lack of confidence in the government's ability to manage the economy.
美国股市的主要指标持续创新高 。其就业报告也让美国人对经济形势充满了信心 。
化肥和种子的成本不断上涨，而农作物的需求和价格却在下降 。农民的收益问题也影响了其他方面 。
对于全球农民来说，农业进步展览会是一项盛大的活动 。制造商和供应商可以在此展示新产品和设备 。参加展览会的农民也可了解一些高效的先进设备 。
农民杰夫·费舍尔（Jeff Fisher）也来参展，不过他只能来看看 。
这位来自伊利诺斯州的农民向记者大吐苦水，他没有充足的资金购买设备 。他表示，上一次盈利还是在5年前，期间他从没购买过新设备 。
据美国农业部报道，2016年农场净收入中位值是2009年以来最低的一年 。农业部预计今年的收益只会小幅度增加 。
塔玛拉·尼尔森（Tamara Nelsen）是伊利诺斯州农业局大宗商品的高级主管 。
设备制造商协会的报告显示，2016年前三季度的农场设备出口减少了14% 。与2015年相比，亚洲的销售额下降了44%，而南美洲下降了28% 。
马克·布雷默（Mark Bremer）是伊利诺斯州南部的农民 。
他的农场种植着玉米和大豆，还饲养着家畜 。他跟费舍尔一样用着旧设备 。
布雷默不知道何时有资金购买新设备 。他担心今年降雨量少会影响庄稼生长 。
虽然明年的形势也很难预测 。但费舍尔仍然怀有希望 。