Farmers busy at the bank filling out loan applications

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – At this time of year, most farmers are not doing any planting, but they are busy – applying for loans from local banks, that is.

&uot;Usually, farmers start getting things together (for loans) in late December and through the month of January,&uot; said Concordia Parish County Agent Glen Daniels.

The good news is that no more farmers are asking for money than last year, according to one bank president.

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And Daniels believes that is a sign that government payments are helping farmers stay afloat.

&uot;We’re trying to help out as many farmers as we can, since they’re the backbone of the community around here,&uot;&160;said Pat Biglane, president of Concordia Bank. &uot;And we are concerned about the prices of crops as well as prices of gas and other products farmers have to buy.

&uot;Still, we have about the usual number of loans from farmers, about the same as previous years,&uot; he added.

Daniels noted that most farmers are managing to stay in business, thanks to government payments. Concordia Parish farmers received more than $9 million in assistance payments in 2000.

&uot;When you look at the disasters farmers have experienced in recent years, especially with the drought, we would have been in bad shape without that,&uot; Daniels said.

Due to such payments, Concordia Parish should have the same number of farmers during the upcoming growing season as it did last year, Daniels said – about 300, despite the retirement of a few farmers this year.

Also, thanks to government assistance, the amount of money requested from local banks should also stay the same as previous years – about $200,000 to $300,000 in most cases, depending on the number of acres a farmer plants, Daniel noted.

&uot;With the help of those payments, some farmers have enough money to help pay off their existing debt load, too,&uot; Daniels said. &uot;But they’re still not making a profit.&uot;