Farmers' Financial Futures In Question After Delayed Planting This Spring

Jul 23, 2019

The current economic conditions could cause a greater strain on young farmers who have built less equity.
Credit Brock Turner / WFIU/WTIU News

Indiana farm loan delinquencies were down slightly last month compared to the same time last year. But, that doesn’t mean farmers aren’t worried about their financial health.

Indiana’s United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Office says they are currently lending to about 1,500 farmers, and just shy of 1 percent of them are behind on their loans.

Steve Brown is Indiana’s Farm Service Agency Executive Director. He says it will take some time for farmers to feel the impacts of delayed planting this spring.

"The effect of this year’s weather events will not be seen probably until next year at this time," he says.

But he says the small number of delinquencies doesn’t necessarily represent the financial health of farmers across the state. Unpredictable weather, paired with a lack of global trading markets, is causing some farmers to burn through their equity. 

That has Bob White from the Indiana Farm Bureau worried about younger farmers especially.

"They haven’t had the time to build up the equity," he says. "The land that they were farming still gets planted.  It just gets planted the next year by someone else."

A recent report from the Indiana Farm Bureau says net farm income dropped 50 percent in the past five years.