Agriculture lender Farm Credit Mid-America announced first quarter earnings of $67.8 million, compared to $72.9 million in the same period in 2012. Owned and managed assets were $19.4 billion, a 5.7 percent increase compared to March, 2012. “Agriculture is in an elevated cash position as a result of crop insurance proceeds and a strong net farm income in 2012,” says Bill Johnson, president and CEO. “While an upsurge in cash and a late planting have slowed borrowing in the first quarter, we are starting to see increased activity as farmers are getting into the fields.” Johnson went on to say that Farm Credit’s loan portfolio has grown more than $1.3 billion over one year.
Overall, the association is strong and is well poised to serve rural America. Johnson cites loan conversion activity as one example of Farm Credit’s commitment to customers. Conversions allow customers to move their loan product to a lower interest rate thus creating interest expense savings that can be reinvested into the farm operation or community. Since the beginning of the year, the association has converted nearly 8,700 customer loans representing more than $1.5 billion in volume and a customer interest expense savings of $22 million over a three year period. “Last year’s conversion numbers set a record. Staff moved almost 32,500 loans to lower interest rates creating an interest expense savings of nearly $130 million. We are on pace to have another strong year in 2013. Customers are often surprised that we can still lower their interest rates even on fixed rate loans,” says Johnson.
Another way the association provides value to rural America is through investments in rural communities. In 2013, Farm Credit will contribute more than $2 million to youth initiatives and young and beginning farmer programs that help keep our communities active and strong. “We continually seek new ways to partner with local communities,” says Johnson. “Our customers and board members are committed to providing value to those who live and work in rural America.”