Farm lending soars as operating costs grow

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ American farmers and ranchers were borrowing more at the end of last year as their operating expenses and feed costs increased.

The Federal Reserve says farmers and ranchers nationwide borrowed $94.7 billion in the fourth quarter. That’s up from $54 billion the previous year.

The Fed says farmers were borrowing more to buy farm equipment, and some farmers were pre-paying for seed and fertilizer they’ll use this year.

Livestock operations were borrowing more because feed and livestock costs increased.

Economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City produced the quarterly report based on national lending data.

The Fed says the fourth-quarter borrowing was also spurred by a rush of year-end spending ahead of possible tax law changes.

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