If you ask farm and ranch lenders from across the country their thoughts on the future of the Ag economy, their responses may not be as somber as you’d expect. And while there is caution about the current farm economy, Montana banker Heather Malcolm says it’s not all gloom and doom as we look at 2020.
“From all farm lenders it seems like  might be a little bit better than what we’ve heard the past couple of years. There is still some concern with a few more bankruptcies, but overall it seems like the farm economy is going to be a little bit better [in 2020]. So, that means Ag lenders are a little more positive about what’s going on.”
Malcolm is the chair of the American Bankers Association’s Ag and Rural Bankers Committee. Some farm bankers are even expecting a slight uptick in the farm economy next year.
Meanwhile, Ed Elfmann, ABA Vice President said a growing challenge for farmers and ranchers is the reduction in the number of options when it comes to farm loans. And he added while some banks are leaving the Ag industry, it’s not because of the farm economy.
“The banks that seem to be exiting are because there’s no heir to take over the bank, or no one to pass the bank on to, and consolidation is something that’s been happening in our industry for a while now, unfortunately we’d love to have more banks in the country, but it’s just the nature of economies and how they work in creating efficiencies.”
Elfmann said the consolidation of Ag banks nationwide, is very similar to the problem facing many producers, where there is no one in line to take over the family business.
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