Ag Bankers Signal Strong Recovery in Farm Finance

Farm income and agricultural credit conditions improved significantly according to agricultural lenders across major portions of the U.S. in the fourth quarter. Despite turbulent conditions related to the ongoing pandemic, prices of several agricultural commodities increased sharply in the final months of the year.

Dramatic improvements in crop prices drove the sharpest turnaround in agricultural lending conditions in more than a decade, according to the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. On average, farm loan repayments increased for the first time since 2013. The rate of loan repayment increased from a year ago in all participating Federal Reserve Districts except Dallas, with the fastest pace of increase reported in the Minneapolis and Chicago Districts. Other financial indicators also shifted quickly in the fourth quarter as borrowers experienced relief from previous years of financial stresses. On average, loan demand contracted at the fastest pace since 2013 and fund availability increased at the fastest pace since 2013, according to agricultural bankers.