A recent report by CoBank predicts the farm economy in Nebraska will tighten this year and that will lead to more farmers filing Chapter 12 bankruptcy. In 2014, there were 380 filings statewide. Last year, there were more than 500.
Jay Rempe, the senior economist at the Nebraska Farm Bureau, says farmers will continue to struggle in the year ahead.
“The incomes have come off 50% since their highs,” Rempe says. “It’s a transition. It’s a struggle to make ends meet, especially looking forward, we don’t see any changes in the near term in terms of income opportunities or huge growth in income opportunities so it’s going to be tough for some folks out there for a while.”
Rempe says some growers and livestock producers have been surviving because they’ve had cash on hand.
“We’re seeing that uptick which you’d have to expect, given the income conditions,” Rempe says. “On the bright side, if there is a silver lining, coming into this situation, most guys were sitting very good with their working capital and they are managing to stay afloat with their working capital.”
Rempe advises producers to keep good lines of communication open with their lenders, and to take advantage of any possibilities that arise.
“Look for those marketing opportunities,” Rempe says. “2018 looks like they might be few and far between but when they’re there, don’t hesitate to have a marketing plan and to move forward. We’re seeing a lot of costs being squeezed out of agriculture right now and that’s got to continue.”
Rempe says some Nebraska producers have been rebounding a bit but most of those are livestock producers. He says grain farmers continue to struggle.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton