Farm income declined in the first quarter of 2018, the 17th-consecutive quarter of lower income numbers. The latest Agricultural Finance Monitor, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, shows quality farmland values and cash rents were also slightly lower than in 217. The St. Louis Fed surveyed 24 agricultural banks in the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes several Midwest and Mid-South States. The majority of the bankers reported income declines compared to a year ago. Quality farmland values were 1.4 percent lower than in the first quarter of last year. That’s the first decline since the second quarter of 2017. Ranchland or pastureland values rose sharply for the second consecutive quarter. In similar fashion, cash rents for quality farmland dropped slightly in the first quarter of this year when compared to 2017. Cash rents for pastureland or ranchland increased. Other questions in the survey included the number of farmers using off-farm income to maintain cash flow. 41 percent of the banks said that 25 percent of their farmer-customers had off-farm income. More than half of the banks said that a quarter of their farmer-clients were in severe financial difficulty.
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