FSA Farm Loan Delinquencies Highest in 9 Years
Written by jordanmckamey on February 28, 2019
The nation’s farmers are struggling to pay back loans after years of low crop prices and export markets hit by tariffs, with a key government program showing the highest default rate in at least nine years.
Many agricultural loans come due around Jan. 1, in part to give producers enough time to sell crops and livestock and to give them more flexibility in timing interest payments for tax filing purposes.
While the federal government shutdown delayed reporting, January figures show an overall rise in delinquencies for those producers with direct loans from the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency.
Nationwide, 19.4 percent of FS A direct loans were delinquent in January, compared to 16.5 percent for the same month a year ago, said David Schemm, executive director of the Farm Service Agency in Kansas. During the past nine years, the agency’s January delinquency rate hit a high of 18.8 percent in 2011 and fell to a low of 16.1 percent when crop prices were significantly better in 2015.