Early last year, hog prices briefly fell to $10 per hundredweight, or about $25 for a 250-pound live pig--the same price paid in the Depression years of the 1930s. It was a disturbing indicator of the troubles that have plagued farmers for several years--and are likely to continue this year. In agriculture, good crops often mean bad news. Most farmers, not just the hog producers, are suffering from a surge in production--and from tumbling prices. The overwhelming question dominating talk of agriculture in 2000 is: When will the price slump end?

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