Mike Walsten has covered major business trends in agriculture for more than 35 years. From the southern corn leaf blight of 1970 to today's biofuels focus, he''s lived, reported and analyzed the impact of volatile markets on farm and ranch businesses and on land prices. After growing up on a grain and livestock farm in Western Illinois, Mike graduated from the University of Illinois with an undergraduate degree in agriculture communications and a master''s degree in business administration in the early 1970s. Since then he''s covered business and management issues as well as price outlook and marketing issues in various positions with Farm Journal Magazine and Professional Farmers of America. He now applies his extensive background and analytical skills to today's surprising farm and ranch market as editor of LandOwner.
Monthly survey finds improving economies in rural Midwest, but farming still struggles.
Farm and ranchland value the Plains continue to weaken.
Chicago Federal Reserve notes 1% annual gain in district farmland values.
Rural economy in 10 states still strong but economic momentum is slowing.
Iowa State analysis shows long-term returns for farmland ownership.
Financial stress on farmers relying on implement dealer financing about the same as the stress felt for farmers using traditional financing.