But other signs show farmers are increasingly struggling. "At the well-known farmer support organization, Farm Aid, officials say they have added staffers for the group's hotline, which has seen a doubling in crisis call volumes," Chris Clayton reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. "Farm Service Agency, which used to be considered the lender of last resort, has seen its rate of delinquent borrowers rise from 16.97 percent in 2013 (the height of farm income) to 19.41 percent now."
Iowa attorney Joe Peiffer told Clayton he spent the second half of February helping farmer clients restructure debt and get operating loans after they found out past lenders wouldn't continue financing them. "Peiffer and others see more distressed farmers looking for help even as broader debt indicators show a farm economy, while certainly down from levels five to 10 years ago, not in crisis," Clayton reports. "Overall, farm loan delinquency rates at banks remain around 2 percent, according to Federal Reserve and FDIC numbers. Reports filed at the end of last year by Farm Credit lenders show the number of loans in bankruptcy or foreclosure amount to 1.35 percent of total loans made by Farm Credit associations. With $194.5 billion loaned out at the end of last year, the dollar figure of non-accrual loans was $1.3 billion, or just 0.66 percent of total loan dollars."