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Bankers Assoc: More optimism in farm country

The president of the North Dakota Bankers Association believes there is reason for optimism in farm country.

"First off, USDA is forecasting a rise of over 20 percent in net farm income, compared to 2019," Rick Clayburgh said in an interview. "Certainly that's a positive sign as we're moving from 2020 into 2021."

Clayburgh said some of that was due to government support, because of COVID-19, lower commodity prices, and the trade dispute with China.

"The good sign is, we're seeing a rebound in some of our prices," Clayburgh said.

Clayburgh said that’s made the balance sheets for those producers stronger, as they sit down with the lenders.

"Our ag-lenders across North Dakota are ready, willing and able to sit down with their producers, and help them get into and plan for the 2021 crop year," Clayburgh said.

While Clayburgh said that leads to a “great deal of optimism” for the 2021 growing season, there are several things to watch – including weather, trade and energy costs.

"Where will demand be?" Clayburgh said. "Are we going to start seeing an uptick in consumer activity in purchasing farm products?"

Clayburgh said while there has been an increase in prices at the grocery store, some of that has yet to work down to the producers.

"Hopefully that will occur," Clayburgh said.

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