Number of farms down across the state

MORTON COUNTY, N.D. - Family farms have long been the backbone of North Dakota's economy. But the numbers are shrinking.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports farm numbers dropped by 300 in the state last year, to a little more than 26,000.

Farmers say the cost price squeeze is a big part the issue.

Whether it's how much their crops are selling for, heavy machinery or cost of dairy, farmers say it can be hard to keep up.

"I think most of the farmers here really enjoy what they do, otherwise they probably wouldn't do it," said Dennis Renner, Morton County farmer.

Renner is a fifth generation Morton County farmer.

"It's just a good way of life I think," said Renner.

Farming is just a part of who he is.

"But we got to have enough income in there to sustain the operation at a reasonable level," said Renner.

And with any business, this one comes in waves. "You're working with Mother Nature," Renner said.

"Every year you never know. It's a gamble. You never know. Like last year, we had our best soybean crop ever," said Renner.

Some weren't so lucky. "This fellow had 40,000 acres in corn last year," Renner said. And it didn't work.

Renner says they're competing with farmers across the world who sell their goods for cheaper.

Renner says people should keep a good business model and not spend more than they have. He, like many other farmers, hope this year is filled with highs and not many lows.

And some in Killdeer, like Jason Bang, are already kicking the planting season off