AgLetter: February 2000
Last Updated: 02/04/00
Farmland values were up 1 percent, on average, for all of 1999 in the Seventh Federal Reserve District, according to our January 1 survey of 370 agricultural bankers. The year was capped off by a relatively strong 2 percent increase during the fourth quarter (October 1—January 1), in contrast to the sluggish performance during most of the year. Furthermore, this represented the largest quarterly gain in almost two years. The bankers also reported that overall farm loan demand and fund availability were little changed in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. The pace of loan repayments continued to show weakness, prompting bankers to tighten their credit standards, yet credit quality was essentially unchanged from a year earlier. Looking ahead, the bankers indicated that capital spending by farmers would decline in 2000. They also believe that the number of acres planted with seed containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) this year will be steady to declining, relative to a year earlier. But despite the uncertainty surrounding the availability of markets for GMO grain, a large majority of the bankers indicated a firm willingness to continue financing its production.