There’s good news for farmers and ranchers across the nation. Joe Glauber, Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reports the overall financial health of the economy this year paints a very good picture for the health of the farm financial side.
The report compares farm debt to farm asset values.
“Farm real estate has been appreciating by about seven percent annually. Farm debt is up a little bit, but interestingly for 2013, we’re forecasting farm real estate debt to be down a bit,” Glauber said. “What’s going up is the non-real estate loans and some of that is because we’ve seen increased equipment purchases.”
Cattle farmers are also reportedly borrowing more money for the purchase of feed and the purchase of livestock, but Glauber reports that the ratio of debt to assets is what’s important in looking at the financial health of the agricultural industry.
The ratio of debt to assets is forecast to be around 10 percent this year–the lowest it’s been since the USDA started collecting data in 1960.