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Volatile times continue for ag

(CIFN file photo)

PONTIAC – These aren’t ideal times for agriculture, but farmers will get through it.

That’s the belief of Mike Hertz, vice president for 1st Farm Credit Services in Pontiac. There haven’t been a whole lot of land sales this year, although some have been very strong as ground in McLean County brought $14,000 an acre.

“Good managers find a way to do well in these situations. I think we’ve just got to be smart,” said Hertz.

The ag economy tends to go in cycles with cash rents and land values working their way up and down. 1st Farm Credit has not handled many equipment loans lately. Hertz believes it is hard to justify cash rents of over $300 per acre nowadays. He strongly encourages clients to build up working capital, or savings.

“If times get a little tough, you can hit those reserves to help you get through it.”

Hertz has many investments but admits the one thing he feels best about is the ground he owns, acknowledging he likely won’t get rich from it, but could benefit from it down the road in life.

1st Farm Credit offers farm real estate, operating and equipment loans along with rural consumer loans and crop insurance. The company recently announced a merger with AgStar Financial Services and Badgerland Financial. A statement from the company said the preliminary approval allows the organizations to move forward with the process. The next step for the three organizations is a stockholder vote on the proposal.

“It’s been a yearlong process. You want to make sure you do everything right,” Hertz said.

This will be the third merger Hertz has been through during his 33-year career.

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