Farmers often go into debt to help keep their farms running. Like many other businesses, the farming industry depends on the availability of funds to borrow to get them through tough times and also help them grow when times are good. Just like everyone else, farmers can fall on hard times and have trouble paying their debt. In this case they will have to seek debt help in some form.
Understanding debt obligations and what debt can do for the farming industry is crucial to its business outlook in the medium and long term. An important point to know is how debt and equity differ from each other. Debt has lots of demands that come with it while investor equity is less likely to cause a business financial strain.
When farmers do decide to take on debt it should be used to increase productivity. If the debt payments cannot be made out of profit from the debt then the payments will have to come from other profits. Since profits from farming vary significantly it can make it hard to predict when the payments for debt will come directly. The debt might be investing into something that takes a season or even years to create a return.
It is important to make sure that there will be cash flow to make debt repayments. If a farm was to take on too much debt too early and the cash flow gets tight then it might make it hard to make debt repayments and it could actually ruin the business.
Farmers also need to factor in that the prices for the goods they need fluctuate quite a bit as well. A sharp price increase in something vital for a farm can cause cash flow problems that can put a farmer’s finances in the red.
Once anyone is behind on payments it can be hard to get debt help. Not only farmers but any business can struggle to get an outside investor to step in and save their business when their books are out of order. They might have to start selling assets to get their books in order before they can get debt help. A farm is run basically like any other business and the farming industry uses loans to help grow and expand. Knowing how to use debt help responsibly is as important as any other factor in the farming industry.