Federal Reserve Beige Book: Agriculture Sector is Weak

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The Federal Reserve Bank Beige Book released this week reports continued weak economic conditions in farm country. Released Wednesday, the report states agricultural conditions remained weak as a result of unfavorable weather conditions, low commodity prices, and trade-related uncertainties.

Districts with agricultural ties, but especially in the Midwest, report declining agricultural economy measures, with further farm income declines expected. The Tenth District in Kansas City reported earlier this summer that farm income and credit conditions showed some signs of stabilizing. Demand for agricultural lending remained high, but bankers anticipated slower growth in coming months.

The Kansas City district reports the share of new farm operating loans denied by bankers declined slightly in the second quarter of 2019 after reaching a five-year high a year ago. The Beige Book, published eight times a year, is a Federal Reserve publication about current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from district sources.