AgLetter: February 1997
Our latest survey of agricultural banks in the Seventh Federal Reserve District found that the rise in farmland values slowed in the fourth quarter while credit conditions were little changed. The nearly 400 responding banks indicated that fourth-quarter farmland trends varied considerably and, on average, rose less than 1 percent. The latest quarterly rise was less than a third of the gain reported earlier for the third quarter. Despite the slowing, strong gains in the earlier quarters boosted the rise in District farmland values for all of last year to 10 percent, double the rise of the year before. Credit conditions were little changed, with the latest measures of farm loan demand, fund availability and farm loan interest rates holding close to previous levels. However, the measure of farm loan repayment rates declined, reversing the pattern of year-over-year gains noted since the fall of 1995.