On the surface, things seem to be fine, but under the surface, farmers are in bad shape.

“People don’t realize it yet,” said Chuck Hanagan, head of the Farm Service Agency in Rocky Ford, “but these are hard times for farmers.

“The market affects them. Sometimes corn is up and cattle are down. Sometimes cattle are up and corn is down. But right now, corn and cattle are both down.”

Hanagan said the late growing season is also affecting the farmers’ bottom line. Chiles and tomatoes were not ready at the time people expect to buy them. Some people didn’t plant and everybody had to plant late, so the produce was not ready at the customary times. However, the peppers and tomatoes are now in good supply and even abundant, but the customers don’t necessarily know it.

“So times are hard for the farmers,” said Hanagan. “It’s always a gamble.” He added: “You are looking at a crazy man. Next year I intend to retire and become a full-time farmer.”