Fewer requests for farm loan mediationby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — The number of mediation requests for troubled farm loans fell again last year, reflecting strong grain prices.
For the year ending last Sept. 30, mediation requests declined about 5 percent. That was substantially less than the improvement measured a year earlier, when the index dropped by a quarter.
Lenders typically file for mediation when a farmer falls into serious financial trouble and cannot repay loans, said Dick Senese, senior associate dean of the University of Minnesota Extension.
"The reasons for that can be wide and varied," Senese said. "Sometimes it can be related directly to the agricultural markets and the economy. Sometimes it's due to a reduction in off-farm income, perhaps, or high medical bills, or maybe some complex family dynamics that are kind of infringing on the operation being as successful as it could be."
Last year lenders filed just over 2,900 mediation requests, compared to almost 3,100 the previous year, he said. Grain production was profitable last year, but high prices for feed are hurting livestock operations.