BND president -- little demand for special drought farm loan programs

Jan 31, 2018

During the 2017 drought, the Bank of North Dakota established two special loan programs to help ranchers stressed by the dry conditions.

One was to help farmers find feed for their cattle. A second would help rebuild cattle herds after a number of cows were sold because of a lack of feed.

"But what we found was that, despite the fact that we've had these two programs out there, we've not had any usage," said BND President Eric Hardmeyer.

Hardmeyer said he's been talking with other bankers around the state to see if the state-owned bank should start a program to help farmers struggling with low commodity prices and drought effects.

"We're finding that the rains in August helped the row crops," Hardmeyer said. "The rains also helped some of the pastures return."

Hardmeyer said the rains didn't do much for some of the small grains.

"But crop insurance proceeds came in," Hardmeyer said. "They were quite helpful."

So, Hardmeyer said he doesn’t see an immediate need for any special farm programs.

"What you'll find is bankers and lenders willing to sit down with their farm borrowers and work with them," Hardmeyer said. But he also said things can change, depending on the 2018 crop year – and whether drought conditions will continue, or commodity prices improve.