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HEAD NEBRASKA BANKER SAYS AG'S BALANCE SHEETS IN "PRETTY GOOD SHAPE"
BrownfieldAgNews reports:

The incoming chairman of the Nebraska Bankers Association says agricultural balance sheets are in what he calls "pretty good shape".

Craig Brewster is president and CEO of the Butte State Bank in Butte. He says they are seeing some declines in net worth as result of commodity market pricing.

"A year ago, or a year and a half ago, when you were doing balance sheets for corn, you were at six or seven dollars a bushel. Now you maybe have the same bushels on inventory, but the price has gone down two, to two and a half, to three dollars," Brewster says. "So you're bound to lose a little bit of equity.

"It's nothing, I don't think, that any ag bankers are concerned about. It's just a reflection of the commodity prices."

But Brewster says in his area of north-central Nebraska, where many of the farmers raise crops and cattle, operations are benefitting from stronger cattle prices.

The next chairman-elect of the Nebraska Bankers Association will be Mike Pate with United Republic Bank in Omaha. Pate says he expects interest rates to remain flat for the foreseeable future.

"I think the general consensus is that they're going to remain pretty flat for a long period of time-and 'long' being probably a year or more," says Pate. "There just doesn't seem to be much stimulus in terms of economic growth to drive interest rates up-or inflation to drive interest rates-at this point in time."


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