There were only four farm/ranch related bankruptcies in Colorado this past year as agriculture economies trudged along 29 percent below the record income year of 2013.

The highest number of filings was in Wisconsin at 48, followed by Kansas and Nebraska each with 37. Texas had 29 and California saw 28 farms go broke.

In a late-year report released on Oct. 31, the Agriculture Department projects farm income in 2019 will reach $88 billion, which is the highest net farm income since 2014’s $92 billion. It is still 29 percent below 2013’s record high.

Further, the USDA says that nearly 40 percent of that income — some $33 billion in total — is related to trade assistance, disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance indemnities. That money has yet to be fully received by farmers and ranchers.

On the debit side of the report, farm debt in 2019 is projected to be a record-high $416 billion, with $257 billion in real estate debt and $159 billion in non-real estate debt. The repayment terms on this debt, according to data from the Kansas City Federal Reserve, reached all-time highs for a variety of categories.

All non-real estate loans saw an average maturity of 15.4 months, feeder livestock had an average maturity period of 13 months, other livestock had a maturity period of 18 months.

Furthermore, other operating expenses — loans, primarily for crop production expenses and the care of feeding livestock — had an average maturity period of 11.5 months; all record-highs. Put simply, farmers are taking longer to service their debt — a trend made easier due to historically low-interest rates.

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