A record drought wilted crops across parts of the country last season, and apple orchards bore less fruit because of weather abnormalities.
But, thanks to last-minute rain, farmers in Northwest Indiana still fared better than their counterparts elsewhere in the United States.
Farmers in Lake and Porter counties escaped the worst of the drought, Tim Stoner said.
Crop insurance can help protect farmers, but they still see only a small profit on goods. For every dollar people spend on food, only 16 cents goes to the farmer, Stoner said.
A new program through the USDA could help farmers through their start-up years.
The department recently announced a new microloan program designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans less than $35,000.