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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — At the new Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo in December, producers, and agriculture industry contacts will not only be able to browse the latest in new innovations, they’ll have the opportunity to learn more about ag lending and managing a farm’s financial future, courtesy of presenters from Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA).

Brent Ditmars, regional vice president of agricultural lending from FCMA in Franklin – who will be presenting seminars throughout the Expo alongside colleague Gary Coleman from Anderson – said the need for farmers and producers to be vigilant about financial education is key in the current climate, where fluctuating interest rates can make or break margins.

“As with any commodity-based industry, margins are typically thin in agriculture, and that creates the need for producers to operate as efficiently as possible,” Ditmars explained. “So, whether it be controlling costs or making investments that have a high return on investment, producers will need to make well-educated decisions to effectively navigate this challenging environment.”

He said the pair will share information in the session “Lending in Today’s Agricultural Environment,” which includes issues such as the state of the ag economy, including asset values and interest rates, as well as understanding financials such as liquidity ratios, solvency, debt coverage ratio, and key expense ratios.

In what he calls a “challenging environment,” Ditmars believes the topics presented at the Expo could give growers and producers a boost above their competitors, both in the agriculture industry and the global economy.

“Due to the rapidly changing world we live in, Farm Credit Mid-America believes it’s imperative that producers stay current on what’s happening not only within the industry but the general economy as well,” he noted. “Producers who understand their financial position well will be able to position themselves to take advantage of opportunities the marketplace presents.

“Additionally, the shared information will help producers better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their operation, and understanding these ratios and/or looking at their operations in a different way will enable them to build or capitalize on the strengths and work to remedy any weaknesses that may exist.”

As well as sharing information with producers and farmers at the Expo, the FCMA team is looking forward to the benefits they receive from the event. “It’s important that Farm Credit Mid-America participate and engage in industry events such as this one that provides a great opportunity for us to connect with producers in an information-rich environment.

“While we strive to provide value to attendees, we also learn a tremendous amount at these events – what’s on producers’ minds, new technologies and the chance to network with other agribusinesses,” Ditmars said.

As they prepare for the Expo, he and the FCMA team are watching changes in the economy closely, looking for ways to help clients maximize potential and minimize risk.

“Both short-term and long-term interest rates continue to rise as the general economy gains strength,” he explained. “Rising interest rates increase borrowing costs and have historically put downward pressure on real estate values. Therefore, rising interest rates, coupled with depressed commodity prices, will likely adversely impact long-term asset values and ultimately equity in the balance sheet.”

Ditmars believes it is a good time for growers and producers to convert or refinance any adjustable rate loans into long-term fixed loans to avoid negative impact to a farm’s bottom line.

“Farm Credit is here to help farmers in this environment, through our team of financial officers who work to understand an operation’s goals,” he said, adding that long-term fixed-rate loans can help mitigate risks and control costs.

Once the Indiana-Illinois Farm and Outdoor Power Equipment Show, the 2018 Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo was an attraction to Ditmars and FCMA because of the revised focus on new technology and product innovation in the industry. This is the 40th year of the show.

The free-admission Expo, owned by Hoosier Ag Today and Farm World parent company MidCountry Media, will run Dec. 11-13 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and feature a variety of seminars and exhibitors. For additional information, visit www.indianafarmexpo.com

THE AG ECONOMY, interest rates, financial terms and expert advice will all be part of Farm Credit Mid-America’s presentation at this year’s Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo Dec. 11-13.