Agricultural lenders can provide a unique outlook on circumstances in the farm economy. Farmers and farm businesses that use short- or long-term financing are routinely required to present financial updates to their loan officers, giving lenders a distinct opportunity to evaluate local farm economy conditions. These insights are particularly valuable during times of transition when the agriculture sector is cycling through economic troughs and peaks.
In December 2016, the American Bankers Association (ABA) and Farmer Mac collaborated on their first joint survey of agricultural lenders to gauge overall industry sentiment on the farm economy, expectations on land values, prospects for the coming year and issues facing the broader economy. This collaboration has continued every year since its inception. These joint studies expand upon data collected by Farmer Mac from 2014 through 2016.
The survey was distributed via email between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6, 2019. Over 450 loan officers, managers and executives responded to the questionnaire. Responses represent a range of institutions by size—from less than $50 million in assets to more than $5 billion—and by geography. This analysis breaks down results by general agricultural economic insights and by factors affecting lending institutions. The report concludes with a broader description of the respondent demographics.