Commodity prices are the greatest challenge facing agricultural producers in 2015, according to a poll of Farm Credit directors from America’s heartland.
More than 61 percent of the directors — from the boards of 17 Farm Credit lenders in 15 states and of AgriBank, their St. Paul-based funding bank — said commodity prices are the greatest challenge facing ag producers this year. The directors, most of whom are also farmers or ranchers, indicated the next biggest challenges are input costs (over 22 percent), Mother Nature (more than 7 percent) and Farm Bill implications (nearly 6 percent). Land rents and interest rates were each cited by less than 3 percent of the respondents.
“Prices for corn and other key commodities produced in our region are down dramatically from recent highs to more normal levels,” said Doug Felton, chair of the AgriBank board and a seed and livestock farmer based in Northfield, Minn. “Lower prices will have a direct impact on the profitability of crop producers. The good news is many crop producers are in a strong financial position to weather this turn in the ag cycle. And the livestock industry is expected to continue to benefit from lower feed costs.”
AgriBank conducted the poll last week among directors attending the 2015 AgriBank Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. The 17 affiliated Farm Credit Associations affiliated with AgriBank provide agricultural loans in a 15-state area stretching from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. Farm Credit is a top source of loans for agriculture and rural borrowers in these states. Eighty-five directors participated in the poll.