Agriculture

How will farmers deal with climate change and other challenges?

As they near the end of 2021, many community ag bankers say their farm clients are feeling optimistic, but the industry isn’t entirely sunny. Farmers have long served as stewards of the natural world, and as climate change becomes a more pressing topic, they wrestle with how to respond. That’s not their only challenge, as they also face down consolidation, rising real estate prices, rate pressure, among other issues. [Continue]

Right to repair: Nerds get their revenge in the farm field

The next time you meet with one of your ag customers, please thank them on behalf of your IT department. By adding their political clout to a much broader technical issue, farmers have helped achieve a Federal Trade Commission policy breakthrough heretofore unreachable: The right to repair. If the FTC follows through properly with its new directive, this will help your perennially struggling ag customers’ bottom lines — as well as perhaps lower your bank’s computer equipment costs over time.  [Continue]

Commodity prices are good now but what about 2022?

Commodity prices — from corn to dairy — look favorable, but as farmers turn their attention to what next year holds, more than a few ag bankers see storm clouds ahead. Input costs are rising, and pandemic-era government programs are drawing to a close. Tight labor markets and other region challenges also complicate the outlook on 2022. [Continue]

Outlook brightens for farmers, less so for ag lenders

As they near the end of 2021, many community ag bankers say their farm clients are feeling optimistic. Commodity prices — from corn to dairy — look favorable. Low interest rates are driving the price of farmland in some areas, but expansion is an obstacle in others. Some of the sunnier projections for the coming year are partially offset by higher costs for feed, fertilizer and fuel. Farmers are hedging by locking in fertilizer prices early, and doing so with help from banks. [Continue]

Nothing beats a written plan when setting goals

For quite a few years, the conversations surrounding agriculture have focused on financial stress. Since 2014, we’ve had a rise in farm bankruptcies, we watched low commodity prices place downward pressure on land values, we expected farm incomes to be stretched thin, and we knew that years of struggle were manifesting in mental health crises across rural America. [Continue]

What the USDA’s American Families Plan means for farmers

The USDA issued a press release in which they indicated that the transfer tax proposed in the American Families Plan will not affect 98 percent of farm estates. However, the details are lacking and most farm families that keep the farm in the family may not owe any transfer tax — but they will owe a lot more income tax under the proposal. [Continue]

Credit quality, climate action may affect ag in 2021

Through the United States Department of Agriculture, farmers were able to use CFAP to provide income assistance due to pandemic-related losses in the marketplace. As of November 15, there were more than 1.2 million approved applications for over $21 billion. There are a lot of unknowns as we look ahead to 2021 and it is difficult to predict what the world may have in store for agricultural banking. It might help if we look at many of the issues that are always at the forefront for agricultural bankers. [Continue]

Where is the industry headed in 2021?

Rows of soy plants in a field

From weather disasters and a pandemic to an increased use of technology that is helping farmers control their own destinies, ag bankers in central states experienced a lot in 2020. Now they look ahead to what 2021 holds, expecting more of the same challenges and uncertainty. [Continue]

Low commodity prices continue to haunt ag

The year began with some optimism on grain prices and improved trade conditions with China, Canada, Mexico and other countries. Then COVID-19 hit in March and everything changed. Commodity prices for crops and livestock dropped rapidly; ag banking experts from across the region weigh in on the local impact. [Continue]

Weather, mental health complicate agriculture

With pressure already exerted by years of low commodity prices, trade uncertainties and pandemic complications, farmers and ranchers in the central states faced a year of difficulties in 2020. Weather varied across the region, and Iowa notably endured the effects of a derecho storm in August that caused billions in damage.  [Continue]