U.S. farm debt up to 1980s levels at $409 billion: agriculture secretary

FILE PHOTO: Corn fills a bin at the base of an auger on a farm in Buda, Illinois
FILE PHOTO: Corn fills a bin at the base of an auger on a farm in Buda, Illinois, U.S., July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker/File Photo

February 27, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Wednesday that U.S. farm debt has risen rapidly to levels seen in the 1980s at $409 billion, from $385 billion last year, with loan demand remaining “historically high”.

“Farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30 percent since 2013 – up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last year – to levels seen in the 1980s,” he said in Congressional testimony.

He added that the debt-to-asset ratio among U.S. farmers has remained relatively low thanks to firm prices for agricultural real estate.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Richard Valdmanis)

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