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Published October 09, 2008, 12:00 AM

North Dakota farmers storing crops after grain prices drop

Area farmers are storing their crops after a drop in prices and waiting for a rebound. Problems on Wall Street bear most of the blame for plunging crop prices, said Mike Krueger, founder and president of the Money Farm, a grain marketing advisory service in Casselton. “The financial mess is affecting commodity markets,” he said. Many investors want the security of cash and are selling commodities, he said.

FARGO (AP) — Area farmers are storing their crops after a drop in prices and waiting for a rebound.

Problems on Wall Street bear most of the blame for plunging crop prices, said Mike Krueger, founder and president of the Money Farm, a grain marketing advisory service in Casselton.

“The financial mess is affecting commodity markets,” he said.

Many investors want the security of cash and are selling commodities, he said.

The creation of commodity index funds has made it easier for average investors to buy and sell grain and other commodities. Also influencing the price drop, to a lesser extent, officials say, is a federal Agriculture Department report that world supplies of corn and soybeans are greater than expected.

Selling of this year’s grain crop “has pretty much ground to a halt,” said Paul Coppin, general manager of the Reynolds United Cooperative in eastern North Dakota.

Farmers are storing grain in their own bins or paying elevators such as Reynolds United to do it, usually at a charge of about 5 cents per month per bushel.

Byron Richard, a Belfield farmer and president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, said area farmers generally can afford to wait a few months before selling their grain.

But most will need to sell this winter to pay the cost of putting in next year’s crop, he said.

Farmers sold some of their crops before harvest for relatively high prices, which helps profitability this year, but they won’t make money on next year’s crop at the current prices, Richard and others say. The price of corn, for instance, is down nearly 50 percent since this summer.

Krueger advises farmers to keep their grain for a while.

“Sit back and be patient,” he said.

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