Farm Financial Stress

by Joe Koenen, Agricultural Business Specialist University of Missouri Extension

With our weather patterns and prices, it is a good time to discuss farm financial stress.
The very nature of Agriculture makes it a stressful occupation. Weather, larges investments, dangerous work and markets make it this way. The last few years farm prices have been lower due to supply and export restrictions. Therefore, while farmers are always stressed, our current situation have made this stress worse. A second quarter 2019 report from the Federal Reserve Bank estimated that around 40% of borrowers had reached their credit limit. That is not close to where we were in the 1980’s but those numbers continue to rise. The two biggest concerns lenders have for farm borrowers are adverse trade outcomes and rising input prices, Interest rate concerns are very low, especially compared to the early 1980’s. It is critical to remember lenders are stressed right now also.
If you are feeling farm financial stress, it is very important that you find a release. That may mean taking a vacation or family outing. You need to do whatever you can to get away from the stress source, even if for a short time. If you need help from professionals, please utilize them. I know farmers are very proud but stress affects your family as well as you. Since I went through the 1980’s, I understand this all too well. Extension can provide a list of counselors or services too.
The last issue is that of farm financial counseling. With our current economy in Ag, several farmers will have to make some changes or adjustments. I know that is not easy. We in University of Missouri Extension, myself included, can help you with farm financial counseling. If you need help, do not hesitate to call or ask. Finally, remember your Ag Business Specialist such as myself can assist you with your business financial analysis. You can contact me at koenenj@missouri.edu or 660-947-2705.