Daily Video

December 10, 2009

Iowa Farmers Squeezed by Recession

In this video report from Sioux Center, Iowa, NewsHour correspondent Ray Suarez looks at how the recession has hit agricultural centers and the farmers that produce the food that feeds the country and the world.

Over 95 percent of the land in Sioux Center is used for agriculture and more than one in six jobs is tied to the industry.

Until recently, grain farmers had been faring well during the recession and they were able to save up during the good times. But with the price of corn plunging 46 percent in the last year, and consumers spending less money on food, farmers are finding that they have to tighten their budgets too.


“This community is fairly optimistic. You may find people in different parts of the country a little bit more pessimistic, but people here are pretty much, will hunker down, as they say out here in the West, and get through the tough times. ” – John Hansen, Farmers Cooperative Society

“We’re real fortunate in this community to — to have had the cash to — to do a lot of things that other communities can’t do. We have always believed what our mother says. You have got to put a little bit away for a rainy day.” – Dennis Walstra, mayor, Sioux Center, Iowa

Warm Up Questions

1. What kind of community do you live in? Where do people work? What kinds of jobs are available?

2. What is agriculture?

3. What kinds of crops and food products are produced in the U.S. What areas do they come from?

Discussion Questions

1. What did you learn from this video? Did any of the information surprise you?

2. What are the similarities between your community and agricultural town of Sioux Center, Iowa? What are the differences?

3. According to the video, how are the farmers impacted by external factors like the economy, the weather and even swine flu?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript of this report

Download this Video

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