Call it what you want — a “plateau” or a “slow-motion recession” — the ag economy is not performing well, and successful producers will be those who can innovate and manage their farms well, speakers at the annual Agricultural Bankers Conference in Dallas said this week.
Agriculture Department officials and some outside experts expect landowners to sign up for the land-idling Conservation Reserve Program in the largest numbers in at least a decade due to the slow farm economy.
The Trump administration’s trade assistance package and other government payments are keeping the farm economy afloat, while historically low interest rates are helping maintain agricultural land values, according to bankers and economists.
Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies have hit highs not seen for a decade in some states, setting off alarms, with some wondering whether the farm economy could be headed for a crisis similar to the one that occurred in the 1980s. A deeper look at the numbers tells a different story.
“Some deterioration in credit quality” for borrowers in the agricultural sector is evident in a new set of financial indicators of the Farm Credit System posted last week by the system’s federal regulatory agency, the Farm Credit Administration.