There’s a silver lining hidden in the latest Farm Bank Performance Report from the American Bankers Association (ABA). Noncurrent farm loans (those more than 90 days past due) account for 0.52 percent of total loans, less than the overall industry noncurrent loan ratio of 1.20 percent. However, the ABA also reports the number of delinquencies did rise.
The ABA says the banking industry supplies approximately 50 percent of all farm loans in the U.S., equaling $186 billion as of the end of the year. Farm banks increased farm lending by 5.3 percent last year, or $5.5 billion, even though the number of farm banks declined. Real estate loans grew by 6.9 percent, while farm production loans grew 3.5 percent.
According to the ABA, 677 farm banks are in the eight-state Plains Region which includes Nebraska. The region’s banks increased farm loans by 4.64 percent last year compared to 2017. Farm production loans grew 2.6 percent to $21 billion, and farmland loans increased 6.95 percent. The ratio of noncurrent loans in the region was 0.38 percent, a bit below the national median ratio. States in the Cornbelt region had a noncurrent ratio of .51 percent, and those in the South had a .98 percent noncurrent ratio. So, in terms of debt payments, it seems farms in the Plain Region are managing better than those in other parts of the country.