EDITORIAL: Hunkering down

Economists speculate about a slowing economy across the country in the coming months. But for much of rural Kansas, including Marion County, the future arrived several months ago. The economy here, judging from the comments of many business folks, has stalled along the side of the road and is going nowhere fast.

We’re not preaching gloom and doom, but the signs are apparent. Prices for most ag products were already bad when the drought and heat of this past summer shriveled yields for most crops. This winter, significantly higher prices for gasoline, propane and natural gas are hitting everyone hard, and gobbling up what small margins might exist for farmers and small business owners alike.

Non-farm consumers are hit by the high fuel bills, too. Many are cutting back on discretionary purchases in order to pay basic bills.

Good weather in spring and summer would help by boosting ag income and reducing heating and cooling expenses. But good weather is at best a hope, not a promise.

We are entering a period of “hunkering down,” where businesses and consumers will need to evaluate the wisdom of each expenditure and choose the most effective and cost-efficient options.

Difficult economic times affect newspapers, too. Some advertisers will feel pressed to trim their advertising budgets. We understand the pressures. Our goal is to continue to provide both advertiser and consumer with the best bang for their buck and the best product for their use and enjoyment.

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