Every booth at the massive Commodity Classic trade show has something new to offer: new genetics, new chemistry, or new technology. But, with farm income continuing to decline, can growers afford these new tools? Bill Johnson, President and CEO of Farm Credit Mid-America, says that, even though there are some tough looking balance sheets, lenders are willing to work with growers to adopt these new products, “We are still very upbeat about the long term prospects for agriculture. If the technology is proven and it will help the efficiency of an operation, then we are still very upbeat about making those investments along with our customers.”
Johnson noted that, despite stories of tightening credit and farm bankruptcies, most Indiana producers are set for the 2019 season, “Most of our customers have their operating loans in place for the coming year.” Overall, he feels farmers have made the changes and adjustments to their operations to survive the tough times and get positioned for the future, “We still see the overall financial health of agriculture pretty strong. We have seen farmers change the way they are managing expenses.” He added this has meant better business plans and starting to plan earlier. He told HAT many borrowers started working on their 2019 plan last summer, “Most operations showed at least some profit in 2018. We are not seeing a lot of bankruptcies among our customers.” He noted that one area that may be an exception is the dairy industry.