Banks increased farm and ranch lending in 2010, providing the majority of all farm credit, according to the American Bankers Association  (ABA) Center for Agricultural & Rural Banking’s annual Farm Bank Performance Review. 
In 2010, the U.S. banking industry held $127.4 billion in farm loans, which includes $68.7 billion in small farms loans with $22.7 billion of that in very small farm loans, according to the report. In 2009, the banking industry held $126 billion in farm loans. The number of small farm loans in 2010 reached nearly 1.2 million, with the vast majority – almost 900,000 – under $100,000.
“Banks continue to meet the credit needs of both large and small farms,” says John Blanchfield, senior vice president and director of the ABA Center for Agricultural & Rural Banking. “Farm income was up in 2010 on the strength of high commodity prices. This has translated into a solid performance on the part of our nation’s farm banks.”
Farm banks are defined by ABA as FDIC-insured banks with assets of less than $1 billion whose ratio of domestic farm loans to total domestic loans is greater than or equal to 13.95% in 2010.
Farm banks increased farm loans by 4.9% holding a total of $60 billion in loans by the end of 2010. The number of full-time employees at farm banks increased by more than 1% in 2010 totaling 76,337 jobs in rural communities.
“Thanks to the banking industry, rural Americans – especially the owners of small farms – are finding opportunities to finance their farms, ranches, businesses and homes,” Blanchfield says. “Of all financial service providers, banks provide the broadest array of products and services and are vital, long-term, tax-paying members of their communities.”
The study, which analyzed the performance of 2,236 farm banks in the U.S., found:
- Total loans at farm banks grew 1.1% to $181.1 in 2010
- Farm bank income, before taxes, totaled $3.1 billion, which was 33.6% higher than in 2009 when it was $2.3 billion
- The average farm bank has three offices – two branches and a main office – and 34 employees
- Farm banks hold $14.6 billion in loans $100,000 or smaller to small farmers and an additional $13.3 billion in loans between $100,000 and $250,000
- Farm banks held approximately $292 billion in assets in 2010, up 4.5% from 2009
A full copy of the report is available as a PDF download .