Crop producers urged to ‘minimize losses’

The financial situation facing crop producers for 2015 is considerably different from that of recent years. Ag economist Tina Barrett, director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc., says the emphasis has gone from “maximizing profits” to “minimizing losses”. “We need to take a step back and look at those choices that we’ve made over the last… Read more »

KC Fed: Farm income decline boosts loan demand

Agricultural bankers in the Federal Reserve’s seven-state Tenth District—the Kansas City district—saw an increased demand for farm operating loans in the third quarter amid further declines in farm income. Bankers participating in the district’s quarterly survey of ag credit conditions noted that reduced working capital for crop producers contributed to a rise in the need… Read more »

A livestock enterprise may be the answer

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The excellent run of profitability in crop farming in recent years allowed many young people to return to their family farming operations.  However, lower grain prices are now making that a more difficult proposition. One option to consider is adding a livestock enterprise.  In some parts of the country, for example, custom feed contracts offer… Read more »

Ag bankers discuss new commodity programs

With harvest coming to a close, farmers and their bankers will turn their attention to the new commodity programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Mike Hein, an ag banker from Durant, Iowa says there’s a lot to work through. “The thing that does make it a little bit difficult is there are quite a few… Read more »

KSU economist says farm debt is greater than you might think

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A Kansas State University ag economist is warning that the levels of farm debt are higher than generally thought. Allen Featherstone says that while the overall farming sector is in good shape, he does have some concerns about the debt picture. “The sector is very healthy at this point,” Featherstone says. “However, looking at a… Read more »

Beef checkoff debate rages on

The announcement from USDA that it is now seeking comments on establishing a second beef checkoff has drawn some predictable reactions. The United States Cattlemen’s Association applauded Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack for his efforts to create “a modern and efficient checkoff program”. There was a much different reaction, however, from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association… Read more »

Bankers say rental rates need to come down

With profitability in grain farming doing an about face, farmers who are renting land are facing a tough situation. Andy Bentley, an agricultural banker from West Des Moines, Iowa, says farmers are going to have a tough time making their operations cash flow with three dollar corn and nine dollar soybeans. “When it costs them… Read more »

Ag bankers meet in Omaha

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Agricultural bankers from across the U.S. are in Omaha this week for the American Bankers Association’s (ABA) National Agricultural Bankers Conference.   We discussed the conference and the current farm economy with the chair of ABA’s Ag and Rural Bankers Committee, Nate Franzen with First Dakota National Bank in Yankton, South Dakota. AUDIO: Nate Franzen

Grassley: Tax extenders are top ‘lame duck’ priority

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says passage of tax extenders legislation should be a top priority for the lame duck Congress. Grassley says increasing the Section 179 deduction level from the current 25-thousand dollars to 500-thousand dollars is important to farmers. “I have very regularly heard at my town meetings from constituents who are putting off… Read more »

Economist: Farm debt is deeper than we think

A Kansas State University ag economist is warning that the levels of farm debt are higher than generally thought. Allen Featherstone says that while the overall farming sector is in good shape, he does have some concerns about the debt picture. “The sector is very healthy at this point,” Featherstone says. “However, looking at a… Read more »