Federal Reserve Reports Farm Loans on the Rise
As the cost for grain, machinery, seed and other farming necessities continues to rise, the Federal Reserve of Kansas reported so did the amount of farm loans. The traditional method of indebted farms taking huge loans from America’s banks to get their crops in the ground is still the predominant way most American farms stay afloat. Which has become increasingly more difficult as the economy stutters and America itself takes on more debt.
Traditional Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) methods have offered an alternative to farmers that desire direct-to-consumer economics and are close enough to an urban core to make this a viable solution. CSA-hybrids, like Full Circle also provide an alternative to the land-debtor system and help farmers remain profitable with the help of dedicated consumers that understand the value of having direct relationships with their farmer.
But for many farms around the country, especially larger farming operations, the debtor system is the only way they can stay afloat. The FAQ on FarmAid.org states:
Farmers, like many other businesses, are suffering from the dramatic economic downturn. With ever increasing operating costs and now declining prices for their agricultural products, many farmers and ranchers will find it difficult or impossible to keep up with their regularly scheduled farm loan payments. At the same time, the availability of affordable, long-term credit is also uncertain, which poses even more threats to family farmer business operations. Farmers depend on loans to get them through their initial investment — to pay for the seed and feed and other inputs needed to get things in the ground and growing. But because of instability in market prices for their products and threats from weather-related disasters, the security of that initial investment isn’t guaranteed. Since most family farmers and ranchers live on their farms, their homes also are listed as security for their farm loans. This means that if they fall behind on their farm loan payments they are threatened not only with the loss of their farming operations but also their families’ homes.
Farming is still as susceptible to the whims of mother nature as ever, despite advances in technology and though rewarding, it is often times a struggle for many of Americas farmers to make ends meet. Although options like CSAs and Farm-Share programs are available and make farming more sustainable for small to mid range farms, it doesn’t make those farms any less likely to survive the many and varied naturally occurring pressures of climate variation, season floods and droughts, insect invasion or heat waves.
I for one am thankful that through Full Circle I can support local farms, as well as small sustainable organic farms that are doing their best to feed us good food, as well as to lessen the collective amount of toxins and poisons that go into our environment. In these tough times, our food system is a paramount support to our health and happiness and deserves our respect and admiration.