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2016 Fourth Quarter

2016 Fourth Quarter

According to the latest survey of agricultural bankers in the Eighth Federal Reserve District, fourth-quarter farm income declined from the previous year, continuing the downward trend reported in the past several surveys. Lower incomes continue to push down farmers’ household and capital spending. Bankers also reported that agricultural land values and cash rents moved in tandem with farm income in the fourth quarter, with values and rents falling from the previous year for quality farmland and ranch or pastureland. Regarding bank-related activities, a majority of bankers reported that fourth-­quarter demand for loans and availability of funds were up relative to the fourth quarter of 2015, while the average rate of loan repayment was down. Our three special questions focused on farmland sales. Results show most bankers believe the volume of farmland sales in 2017 will be unchanged from the previous year. Regarding 2016 sales, 69 percent of bankers reported that farmers purchased more than half the farmland sold in their area. Responses to the question of what interest rate on fixed-rate farm real estate loans would cause the volume of farmland sales to decline were relatively evenly distributed among response options, which ranged from a “5.5 to 6 percent” bin to a “more than 7 percent” bin. 

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