Free Trade Agreements – Positive Economic Impact for US Farmers

United States farming communities are seeing a huge surge of positive economic impact due to a governmental push to negotiate free trade with foreign countries. The United States is leading the free trade movement worldwide. U.S. leaders understand that pursuing free trade agreements (FTAs) with foreign countries will create a more stable and transparent foreign trading policy, as well as, permit U.S. companies to export their products through cheaper and easier means. These agreements are proving to have a positive impact for United States’ farmers and the economic standing of that industry.

South Korea has recently agreed to participate in a free trade agreement with the United States.This agreement is great news for U.S. farmers since South Korea is the sixth largest foreign market for U.S. farm goods. Due to this free trade agreement, U.S. farm goods exported to South Korea will climb to $6.3 billion in 2013 and are expected to reach $7 billion in 2014.This is an economic leap from the $5.3 billion in farm goods exported to South Korea in 2010. 

What Does this  Mean for Farmers?

These FTAs will have an enormous economic impact in the Southeastern farming states due to the agricultural products that these areas produce. It is expected that foreign sales of fruit and vegetables and similar agricultural crops will be on track to reach $23 billion in value this year. Crops that are seeing the greatest economic impact are: beef, soybeans, hides, almonds, rice, citrus fruit, and orange juice. 

Not only are the FTAs helping the agricultural industry, but the growing worldwide acceptance of genetically modified foods has helped those farmers who cultivate such GMOs. This positively affects those U.S. farmers who have also accepted GMOs and started incorporating biotech products into their crop fields. A recent study showed that 90% of U.S.-grown corn and soybeans are genetically modified, as well as 95% of sugar beets.

The future is bright for the agricultural community and now is the time to invest in this industry. Whether it’s purchasing a new agricultural asset or developing your current one, Bankers South can help! Bankers South offers a variety of farm loans and agricultural loans through our AgAmerica Lending program, tailored to fit your specific request. We offer highly competitive interest rates and are willing to work with you to provide financing for your agricultural needs.

Written by Carolina Hernandez, an analyst at Bankers South, a Land South Group company.

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Record Prices and Low Debt Ratios Spur Increase in Farm Loans

The news in farm lending these days has been nothing but rosy. Reuters reported recently that Ag loans are up 14 percent to almost $82 billion last year. That’s remarkable considering the historic drought that struck much of the country and speaks volumes to the good times we’re seeing in agriculture.

Last year, farmers saw cash income of $133 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture. Those projections were at near-record levels thanks to high commodity prices at market and an increase in a demand for food globally – all good things for those in agriculture.

Even with all that lending last year, balance sheets remain strong. Farm debt-to-asset ratios are expected to fall 40 points this year to just 10.2 percent. This would be a record for farm credit and supports the idea that these high profit margins will continue.

For anyone who might have gotten lost with all those statistics, here’s the boiled-down version: High agriculture profits without a lot of debt mean good times for farmers.

This also means it’s a good time for farm operations to grow. Times of high profits and low debt mean farms can take on new agriculture loans to add acreage or buy equipment. At AgAmerica Lending, we employ experts at helping farmers plan for expansion. We’ll help you develop a strategy and come up with Ag loan options to succeed at your goals.

For many farms, the best option is with AgAmerica loans, a program that competes with and often beats all other farm loan rates. For others, it’s a hard-money loan based on collateral. And some may choose an equity line where you can take out money as your operation grows.

Whichever you choose, you can take comfort in knowing now is the time to grow. With record profits and low debt ratios, there has never been a better time to be in agriculture.

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Here’s What Female Farmers Need to Know About Lending

There was a story in the USA Today recently that might come as a surprise to some in the world of farming. It said that the number of women farmers has increased dramatically in the past decade. This isn’t just wives or daughters of farmers but women who have decided to take on farm operations of their own.

In fact, women farmers have increased 19 percent since 2002, while the number of farmers overall grew by just 7 percent, according to the USDA. In places like Iowa, women now make up 20 percent of all farmers.

Some of these farmers took over the operation after they outlived their fathers or husbands, but more and more, women are choosing to enter farming on their own.

No matter how they enter the industry, women farmers should know what’s available to them in the form of agricultural loans that could help their operations grow.

First and foremost is the AgAmerica Conventional Real Estate Loans, which offer extremely low financing and are as competitive as anything in ag lending, including government farm loans. AgAmerica loans come with several options, including a 25-year fully amortized loan and a 10-year AgEquity Revolving Line of Credit.

Women farmers who are new to ag lending may also want to consider the Transitional Lending program from AgAmerica Lending. These loans are often called “hard money” loans and are based on collateral. These are ideal for, say, new ranch financing to buy grazing land, or as a citrus loan to buy new groves. They can also be used as a hobby farm loan for someone looking to buy a new four-wheeler for the grandkids or a new boat for the weekends.

It may also be important to women farmers who are new to ag lending to look for a banker who strives to make a personal connection with clients. Here at AgAmerica Lending, we approach every farm loan refinancing or new hard money loan or any other type of loan as a chance to develop a relationship with a client we hope to keep for life. Whether you’re a female or a male farmer, here at AgAmerica Lending, we’re going to give you that personal approach we hope will become a long-lasting relationship.

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