US farmers rely more on government loan programs | Agriculture
ROXANA HEGEMAN The Associated Press
BEAUTIFUL PLAIN, KAN. – Farmers across the country relied more on the federal government last year to finance their farming operations amid low commodity prices and trade disputes, and more of the money than they borrowed is now in arrears.
Although the US Department of Agriculture has said it has not seen a significant change in loan default rates due to the coronavirus pandemic, it expects an impact if the economic fallout continues. .
Farm foreclosures have not increased and the ministry has taken a number of measures to prevent them – including greater flexibility for borrowers to extend annual operating loan repayments.
The ministry said in an email that it has also temporarily suspended loan accelerations and non-judicial foreclosures and stopped returning new foreclosures to the Justice Ministry. The US attorney’s offices will determine whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on overdue accounts they were already processing.
Nathan Kauffman, vice president and director of the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, said he doesn’t expect COVID-19 to have an immediate impact on farm loans in part because of the timing of the pandemic.
“It really started to escalate towards the end of March, but it’s a time of year when a lot of major planting and funding decisions … had already taken place. So a lot of things had already been triggered before the crisis, ”Kauffman said, adding that if the crisis continued for a few more months, borrowers would start thinking about it again.