PPP loans are one reason for the growth of farmer debt

It has been quite a year financially for farmers and many are taking on more debt.

Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with credit and financial services, from everything from small operations to large corporations.

Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council, says that people have been coming in this year for a variety of reasons.

“Each one of our segments has been growing over time, and that represents a great deal of commitment to agriculture. Back in 2015 we actually had about $237 billion dollars outstanding today, That number has grown to about $297 billion dollars,” he said. “We’ve been experiencing significant loan growth this year.”

In the first six months of this year, that growth has been $10 billion dollars. Part of that is due to participation in the Paycheck Protection Program. Farm Credit was not previously set us as a lender through the Small Business Administration and that approval took some time.

“Unfortunately... it was roughly about ten days into it before we were able to start offering the product, which put us a little bit behind on that first phase of it and then it ran out of money, right away,” Mark Jensen, the president and CEO of Frontier Farm Credit, said. “Fortunately though, and I’ll give SBA credit, they worked hard to get us in as fast as they could. By the time the second phase came around, we were fully up and going. We were writing a lot of PPP loans within a pretty short period of time... Frankly, we had employees working around the clock.”

Jensen adds that without the help of various government programs, the farm crisis would be looking much worse than it is.

“I believe we were weeks, if not a month or two, away from a disaster,” Jensen said. “I think there was an economic disaster brewing, in terms of these producers not having anywhere to go with these products and the price situation. They were experiencing huge losses very quickly. So, if that had continued it would have put people out of business quickly.”

Farm Credit has now written more than $500 million dollars in PPP loans.


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