Enduring price slump starting to erode balance sheets

Enduring price slump starting to erode balance sheets

With low commodity prices persisting through 2016 and few signs of a sharp rebound in 2017, cracks are beginning to show in the balance sheets of farmers in Iowa and other Midwest states, economists and bankers said last week at an agricultural economic conference held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Financial conditions in today’s agriculture remain far better than those during the farm crisis years of the 1980s, the conference speakers emphasized. Yet it’s important that farmers and lenders take a proactive approach to discuss and work through financial issues and prevent a repeat of the up­­heaval of three decades ago, they said.

"We are certainly nowhere near a crisis mode, but we need to watch things closely going into the next five years," said Nathan...

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