Kansas farmers borrowing less
Despite low interest rates, Kansas farmers are borrowing less money, bucking a national trend. Instead, high times on the farm have many Kansas farmers reaping extra profits and paying down loans instead of taking out more debt.
Booming farmland values and high commodity prices often spell expansion for farmers looking to capitalize. Usually, that means farmers head to local banks for loans. This time, however, oil money means many farmers can take advantage of high prices without taking out loans, according to the Wichita Eagle.
"With strong farmland values and higher commodity prices, credit is readily available for farmers," the Eagle's Jerry Siebenmark wrote.
The problem – if it can be viewed as a problem – is that demand for farm loans isn’t that high.
Some farm bank executives in the Wichita area say they’d like to see more farmers seeking loans.
Recent increases in oil production have some farmers pocketing more cash for oil leases taken on their ground. Some farmers are using the money to pay down debt or pay off loans.
And that’s running counter to the national trend of increases in farm loans, according to a recent study by the American Bankers Association.
Often farmers take out loans to help pay for more land, equipment upgrades and technological advances. But in oil producing states like Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, farmers are fairly flush, thanks both to the expanding oil industry and booming crop prices.
“Overall, what I’m hearing across the state is banks have a lot of cash to be lending, and the loans aren’t easy to come by,” said Sid Graber, president of Citizens Bank of Kansas in Pretty Prairie and immediate past president of the Kansas Bankers Association’s ag bankers group. “I think a lot of that is because farmers have had a pretty good run the last couple of three years.”
As Harvest’s Frank Morris reported, these high farm prices are boosting farmers’ bottom lines all over the country.