Full text of Agricultural Highlights : August 1987
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DALLAS Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas August 1987 District Cropland Values Closing in on the Bottom Though s t ill fa llin g , average cropland values in the Eleventh District may be approaching the bottom of the market. In a few heavily agricultural regions of West Texas, cropland value estimates have actually stabilized. Any recovery in cropland prices, however, will be contingent upon continued heavy government income support for farmers and a revival of the moribund District economy. 1981. But in the more urbanized areas, the weakening agricultural demand for land was offset by the growing region al economy. In 1987, however, even though expectations about domestic and export farm markets are relatively unchanged, agricultural demand for land has probably increased because of the massive infusion of government money into the sector as a result of the 1985 Farm Bill. Starting in 1986, Texas farmers will likely receive in excess of $1 billion per year in government payments for the foreseeable future. Consequently, in a heavily agricultural area of Texas roughly around and be tween Lubbock and Abilene, July survey results indicate that the cropland market has stabilized. In con trast, nonagricultural demand for cropland has probably dropped off (Continued on back page) Demand Drives Cropland Markets In recent years, the demand side has been more important than the supply side in determining cropland values. The demand for cropland is the ag gregation of demand for land to be used in agriculture and demand for land for nonfarm uses by those outside of agriculture, such as real estate developers. Agricultural demand for land is a function of expectations about domestic and export markets and the level of government support, while nonagricultural demand is large ly dependent on the state of the regional economy. In some regions of the District, such as Central Texas, agricultural land values are supported by nonagricultural demand for land. In other areas, such as West Texas, agri cultural demand alone supports land values. Cropland Values Stabilized in Some Areas The current District cropland value situation seems to be a near reversal of what existed in the early 1980s. Land values in heavily agricultural areas of the District started down as early as Texas Agricultural Counties Experience Declines in Recent Years The farm financial crisis, which began in the early 1980s, has reduced cash flow and income to the nation’s farmers, forcing many out of business. The decline in farm and ranch income has had a significant impact on some rural communities. An analysis of the top 50 agricultural counties in Texas reveals that despite performing fairly well during 1980-84, these counties have experienced significant economic declines since 1985. Employment Grew Moderately before 1985 An agricultural county can be de fined as one of the top 50 counties ranked by share of total personal in come attributed to agriculture. By this definition, employment for Texas agri cultural counties followed a pattern similar to the state’s during 1980-84 (see Chart 1). While a slowdown oc curred between the second quarter of 1982 and the second quarter of 1983, total employment grew at an annu- alized average rate of 1.25 percent for agricultural counties and 2.13 percent for the state overall. Employment growth in the agricultural counties, however, was not evenly distributed. It was negative in 7 counties and positive in 14, with essentially no growth occur ring in 27. Number of Businesses Increased Another measure of the economic welfare of regions is net new business formation. Like employment, net new business formation showed positive yet slower growth for the agricultural counties than for the state as a whole. The number of businesses in agricul tural counties grew 23.2 percent during 1980-84 (see Chart 2) and 56.2 percent for the entire state. Recent Declines Reported Employment and the number of businesses in Texas agricultural coun ties began to decline in 1985. With the (Continued on back page) Chart 2 NUMBER OF BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS IN TEXAS Chart 1 TEXAS EMPLOYMENT i— 120 INDEX, 1980:Q1 = 100- SEASONALLY ADJUSTED SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas Employment Commission. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. r- 180 INDEX, 1979 = 100 ---------------------------------------------------■ AGRICULTURAL COUNTIES 55 TOTAL SOURCE: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. SELECTED INDICATORS OF THE TEXAS AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY TEXAS FARM REAL ESTATE VALUES 840 DOLLARS PER A C R E-------------- --------------------------------------------(THREE-QUARTER CENTERED MOVING AVERAGE) SOURCE: Quarterly Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. TEXAS CASH RECEIPTS FROM LIVESTOCK AND CROPS PRICES RECEIVED/PRICES PAID r- 90 (1977 = 100)-------------------------------------- NOTE: Index is constructed by dividing prices received by farmers in Texas by prices paid by farmers nationwide. (No separate series exists for prices paid in Texas.) SOURCES: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. FARM DEBT OUTSTANDING AT TEXAS BANKS I— 4.0 BILLION DO LLARS--------------------------------------------------------------- - 3.9 — 3.8 — 3.7 - 3.6 35 | 1985 I 1986 I 1987 SOURCE: Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System. INTEREST RATES ON TEXAS FARM LOANS NOTE: PCA rate is for farm operating loans at production credit associations. FLB rate is for farm real estate loans at the Federal Land Bank. SOURCES: Farm Credit Banks of Texas. Quarterly Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. NONPERFORMING LOANS AT AGRICULTURAL BANKS NOTE: Nonperforming loans consist of loans past due 90 days or more and still accruing plus nonaccrual loans. SOURCES: Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. AGRICULTURAL BRIEFS • The decline in District farm and ranch land values has stopped in some of the heavily agricultural regions, but District-wide average land values are still falling (see front-page arti cle). In an area around Lubbock, however, drycropland values have not only bottomed out but have turned up slightly. For example, dryland values there were $263 per acre in the January 1 and April 1 surveys but have risen to $269 per acre as of July 1. District average cropland values continued to fall in July, down about 1 percent from the April estimate. • Survey results show that the mix of local farmers/ranchers and outside investors buying land today is similar to the mix seven years ago when the agricultural land market was boom ing. This indicates that not all agriculturalists have been squeezed out of the land market because of financial stress. In the past two years, government farm programs for farmers and the renewed profitability of livestock opera tions have increased the sector’s liquidity. In 1980, 54 percent of the District land buyers were tenants or owner-operators. In July 1987, bankers estimated that 52 percent of the pur chasers were farmers and ranchers. • During the first six months of 1987, District bankers’ expectations of business failure because of financial stress among their farm and ranch customers declined markedly. On January 1, 1987, survey respondents estimated that an average of 4.9 percent of their customers would leave agriculture in 1987 because of financial stress. By July 1, bankers expected only 3.3 percent of their agricultural borrowers to succumb to financial stress dur ing all of 1987. The cumulative effect of fairly steady commodity markets and continued strong government support for farmers has helped keep agricultural borrowers in business. • Many District cotton farmers in the Southern High Plains of West Texas are more dependent upon the weather than usual. Over a million acres there is planted to “ June cotton’’ because of weather-induced replanting. Because June cotton needs warm September weather to do well, both the farmers and their lenders have their fingers crossed. TEXAS COMMODITY MARKET PRICES UPLAND COTTON r- ALL WHEAT 60 CENTS PER POUND SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture. SLAUGHTER STEERS FEEDER STEERS |— 75 DOLLARS PER HUNDREDWEIGHT----- r— - 70 84 DOLLARS PER HUNDREDWEIGHT - GRAIN SORGHUM r- 5.4 DOLLARS PER HUNDREDWEIGHT----- L- 2.4 1J, 1Fr: 1M A» IM-,1 J ,1 J A S O N D SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture. CORN r- 4.0 DOLLARS PER BUSHEL- I— 1.5 1 9 8 7 ^ '^ 1987 ' J| IF(- IM■«IA* M I *■JI , I J, IAa 1Se 1 1n 1 OrJNmD SOURCES: Texas Department of Agriculture. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. SOURCES: Texas Department of Agriculture. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. I J1l rF lM11IAJ M11lJ , I J T -r-T -n n A S O N D SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cropland Values (cont.) Counties Decline (cont.) considerably since 1984, when District employment numbers and other signs of a vigorous economy began to nosedive. In Central Texas, for exam ple, which is more urbanized and sup ports land values above agriculturaluse value, cropland values are still declining, hostage to an enervated economy. 1986 slowdown in the state’s economy, the decline in agricultural counties ac celerated. In 1985, the number of businesses in agricultural counties fell 3.2 percent, followed by a decline of 9.9 percent in 1986. Employment in agri cultural counties also declined 2.9 per cent in 1985 and 4.8 percent in 1986. The economic condition of the cen tral business district of an area is another measure of the area’s overall economic welfare. In a county heavily dependent on agriculture, any decline in that industry should be reflected in the county’s retail trade. Employment and net new business formation for the retail sector both showed that the business districts of the agricultural counties as a whole experienced slow but positive growth during 1980-84. In 1985 the number of retail businesses declined in the agricultural counties while retail employment continued to Conclusion For average District cropland values to stabilize, not only must the agricultural outlook remain relatively prosperous, but the regional economy must begin to grow more vigorously. A recent survey of Eleventh District bank lenders to agriculture shows that only 58 percent believe the land market has bottomed out. Average land values for most types of agricultural land are still declining. —Hilary H. Smith 05 > a! | | g g. ro E. ® ® £ 31 £ — O > g to - S O 3 |X © O ^ CO S s jif fill? • T => o ' »' o o > m' -o cd 0 tu = 0) 3 -2 .& CD —■ ~ o ^ d w © 05 O 3" cn co o ~ • □ *© co" .o ~ 05 CO c ©^ ~ -nS.rotfl© © m 3 05 9- CL ® r- 3 ® - H a © *< c ; = r CO 'C © c IE1 © CX IT CD - o I- « ® s i l t s © o © o’ 5 C/) * £ O 3 05 = 30 o ® 3 S CD O CD "? D 3 grow. Both measures, however, de clined in 1986. Conclusion Although Texas agriculture has been generally depressed in the 1980s, the agricultural counties in Texas experi enced some growth overall during the 1980-84 period. However, the downturn that began in 1985 accelerated with the 1986 weakness in the state’s economy. Because of rising government pay ments, however, the net cash income of Texas farmers increased signifi cantly in 1986 and will likely rise again in 1987. With the expected gradual im provement in the Texas economy in 1987 and the increased net cash in come to farmers, the employment declines seen in agricultural counties in 1986 will probably be smaller in 1987. —Keith R. Phillips