U.S farm banks increased agricultural lending by nearly 6 percent, or $5.9 billion, to $106 billion in 2017, according to the American Bankers Association’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report.

“We’re starting to see the effects of a weaker ag sector, but farm banks are still strong and ready to assist their farm and ranch customers,” said Brittany Kleinpaste, vice president, economic policy and research at American Bankers Association. “Banks continue to meet the credit needs of both large and small farms, and remain the largest supplier of agricultural credit in the U.S.”

More than 96 percent of farm banks were profitable in 2017, with more than 55 percent reporting an increase in earnings.

In 2017, farm banks added more than 1,600 jobs, a 1.9 percent increase, and employed more than 88,000 rural Americans. Since 2007, employment at farm banks has risen 25.3 percent.

The entire banking industry, not just farm banks, provides farmers and ranchers with the credit they need. At the end of 2017, banks held $180 billion in farm and ranch loans.

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