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Politics & Government

Low farm prices may mean more work for ag mediators

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says low farm prices will probably mean more work for the ag mediation service – as farmers try to work with lenders for the 2016 crop year.

Goehring says farmers and bankers went through this last year. He says a lot of farmers lived on their equity, and were able to get operating loans – and survive another year.

"The problem is, they were already showing red on their balance sheets," said Goehring. "Now, when you don't have hope of farm prices going up at least a little bit from where they were, some farmers are concerned they don't have enough equity to satisfy the banks."

Goehring says some farmers are not yet talking to their bankers – because they’re holding out hope for better prices. He says the mediation service can help with counseling – and help farmers find other programs to tap into.

"We have the Bank of North Dakota, and we're going to be talking about implementing our disaster relief program," said Goehring. "I'm sure there's going to be other programs out there."

Goehring says the federal government may have programs to help farmers get some lower interest loans.

North Dakota Bankers Association presiudent Rick Clayburgh says the ag bankers are willing to do what they can.

"The biggest thing we're hearing from our ag bankers is the continued downturn in commodity prices," Clayburgh said. "They're having to do some additional work and spend more time with some of the producers."

Clayburgh says the mediation process is beneficial for some producers.

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