A thought plaguing many farmers nowadays and causing a lot of sleepless nights, is the thought of needing operating capital for the next growing year.
As we approach the start of the 2018 growing season (That is, if winter ever decides to leave), we see that the numbers from 2017 are not anything to put your mind at ease.
The American Bankers Association (ABA) reports agricultural lending increased in 2017. Lending by farm banks in 2017 came in at $106 billion dollars. This was an increase of just under $6 billion dollars from 2016. Total farm and ranch lending from all financial institutions came in at $180 billion dollars.
If there is a silver lining in all this, it is the fact that non-performing loans have fallen to a pre-recession level of just a shade over half of one percent. There is a little more positive news: Farm banks, which are banks whose farm loans to domestic loans ratio is greater than the industry average, are seeing increases in earnings and profitability. This increase means these financial institutions have added over 1,600 jobs, which allows rural banks to able to employ 88,000 rural Americans.