NoCo Farmers Make Their Case

July 2009

Loveland farmer Deb Hertson faced the feds, bankers, and the press yesterday in an attempt to sum up what she and her colleagues hope the government will fix--and quickly. "I should be out tending my crops, but instead, I've been involved with trying to find refinancing," she told a congressional panel chaired by Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University law professor. Hertson added that the closure of New Frontier Bank in Greeley, the dominant lender in northern Colorado, could not have come at a worse time (via the Greeley Tribune). New Frontier was shuttered after a pattern of reckless lending, leaving many of the area's farmers without a line of credit and on the verge of going broke. Ninety percent of the agricultural borrowers in the region do not meet typical lending standards; just 10 percent are considered bankable and many are insolvent, according to an expert cited by the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Farmers argue that they are the backbone of the nation and need support in a difficult industry that's sensitive to harsh economic conditions as much as the weather. The panel is expected to issue a report by July 21 on commercial-farm credit markets and the use of loan restructuring as an alternative to foreclosures, reports The Associated Press.

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