University Cooperative Extension

Authored by - Jason Henderson, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Purdue University College of Agriculture and Director of Purdue Extension. He is a national expert on topics such as land values, agricultural finance, entrepreneurship, demographics and economic development in rural America.

America’s agricultural economics run in cycles — each lasting 30 years since 1900 and including periods of decline in U.S. farm income and agricultural land value. Today, we are in a downturn, with farm income 40 percent off its high and agricultural land value in various degrees of decline nationwide. Economists can merely speculate whether this downturn rebounds (as after World War II), deepens (as in the 1980s) or bottoms out (as in the Great Depression). History may not repeat, but it does rhyme. We have been here before — at a junction of caution and concern, but also hope and opportunity.

Amid the uncertainty, farmers can look to the USDA’s Cooperative Extension Service — which has helped sustain, assist and educate agricultural producers since 1914. Established by congressional action and facilitated by land-grant universities nationwide, Cooperative Extension shares community-customized solutions in agriculture and natural resources, community development, health and human sciences and 4-H youth development. Living where they work, our local Extension educators deliver objective university expertise — placing tools to weather this downturn in farmers’ backyards.

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