St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - A new report shows almost a third of Minnesota farmers experienced a decline in net worth last year. The analysis by the University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota State found Minnesota’s medium farm income was about $28,500 in 2017. That number was pegged at about $36,000 the previous year.

The report indicates dairy farmers faced some of the steepest financial challenges as milk prices plummeted during the second half the year. U of M Extension Economist Dale Nordquist described the situation as “slow bleeding” for farmers who started last year with already fragile finances.

“Minnesota farmers came into this five-year downturn with very strong balance sheets,” Nordquist said. “But we see increased financial stress across Minnesota agriculture. Like any industry, every farm has a different cost structure and some farms are doing better than others. There is a lot of slow bleeding going on out there. It becomes a crisis for some individual farms who don’t have a strong enough balance sheet to withstand this extended downturn.”

A news release says the analysis used data from over 2100 participants in the Minnesota State Farm Business Management programs and over 100 members of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association.