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2016 could be a challenging year for North Dakota farmers

2016 is expected to be a challenging year for farm producers.

Neal Fisher of the North Dakota Wheat Commission says this comes after a period of time of strong prices. Fisher says 2015 was a tough year for farmers, and 2016 shows few signs of improvement.

"Costs are coming down just a little bit, in fuel and maybe in fertilizer," Fisher said. "The catch is for our producers to find those crops that will actually make some money, or as on person said, 'lose you less.' That could be the case in a year like this."

Fisher says there has been a long run of bullish markets, and the softness in the world economy is having an impact now.

Fisher also said even with reports of US wheat acreage down, he thinks in North Dakota the acreage will hold its own.  He said the US number is two to three million acres smaller. And he says the reason is competition in the hard and soft red winter wheat. But he says the North Dakota situation is much different.

"We have specialty wheats," said Fisher. "We have higher value, higher protein, higher performing wheats."

Fisher says there is a little bit of a premium in durum right now, and that could be an incentive to grow durum. He believes spring wheat will hold its own.

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