Is the farmland at risk?

“Over the past several years, U.S. farmland prices have soared as grain prices rose and the Fed drove interest rates to historic lows. What happens now is that grain prices are falling as global output surges, yet U.S. farmers are suffering from a swing from a drought last year to too much rain this year, limiting their production as they lose global market share to foreign competition. Furthermore, the Fed is contemplating ending its bond-buying program later this year, which is already pushing up borrowing rates. These trends could lead to a reversal in land prices that could in turn be felt well beyond the farm. The U.S. Farm Credit System is a government-sponsored enterprise that provides federal guarantees for bad loans—much like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helped to fuel the U.S. housing boom. While a much smaller potential financial fiasco than the housing bust, financial companies with exposure may suffer. Also, investors around the world have poured billions into farmland as a “real asset” in recent years and may see losses”.

 

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