Bloomberg reportsthat farm profits are way down. It's a perfect storm of plummeting prices and a tight lending markets that make it tough to borrow money and keep the big farms running. This national story hits close to home when you read about the Courchaine family of Spokane Valley shutting down their small dairy operation that started in the 1940's. Steve Courchaine speaks for many farmers when in response to questions about the viability of future farming options he says, "Who the hell knows anything anymore."
I've been trying to get a read among our Farmer's Market farmers to see how the economy is impacting them. The word on the street is that sales are down on the East Side of the state at all of the markets, although I don't sense an air of desperation about it. West side farmers' markets are apparently going gangbusters. The Millwood Farmers' Market has been able to sustain more farmers' this year but with construction on Argonne it's really hard to get a read on it. UPDATE: Sometimes the word on the street isn't so reliable. For some hard data on Farmers' Market sales in Washington and a little perspective on what's going on in Spokane County here for Angela Pizelo's helpful comment. Angela is on the board of the Washington State Farmers' Market association and runs the Liberty Lake Market. Thanks Angela.
I'm not sure if there is a connection with the economy but the Spokane Valley Fresh Abundance store has shuttered operations.