Farm debt at commercial banks showed signs of stabilizing at the end of 2021. Driven by a higher balance of real estate and non-real estate loans, agricultural debt increased for the first time since 2019.
The Kansas City Federal Reserve says while the pullback in lending abated, agricultural loan balances remained below the recent historic average. Farm real estate loans also increased slightly at agricultural banks, but production and payday loans continued to decline and led to a further reduction in the concentration of debt among those lenders.
The low interest rate environment continued to pressure margins for lenders, and sharp asset growth pushed capital ratios lower, but stronger earnings performance held overall returns for agricultural banks above the recent historic average.
A relatively strong outlook for the farm economy in 2022 appears likely to continue supporting improvements in agricultural credit conditions. Farm loan delinquency rates improved further through the end of 2021, as did bank liquidity.
(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)