Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Parsons, J., Hewlett, J., Tranel, J. “What Do Ongoing High Interest Rates Mean for Ag Producers?” CAP Series 24-0602, Center for Agricultural Profitability, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, June 13, 2024. DOI: 10.32873/unl.dc.cap038.


As we progress through 2024, the agricultural sector faces significant economic pressures from persistently high borrowing costs.

In the crop sector, smaller cash buffers and the need to preserve working capital due to tightening profit margins resulting from lower crop prices and higher input costs contributed to an increase in farm operating loan activity in the first quarter of 2024 (Kansas City Federal Reserve). Farm machinery and equipment costs also rose considerably in the last few years. As a result, loans to purchase such equipment are larger and the higher interest rates only complicate the purchase decisions even further. Farmers may find themselves prioritizing essential investments in equipment and postponing or scaling back on machinery upgrade and expansion plans.

Furthermore, in the cattle industry, herd liquidation of the last three years due to drought conditions has resulted in high cattle prices coupled with recovery in pasture conditions and a desire to rebuild the beef cow herd. Likewise, as with the machinery and equipment situation for crop producers, a high price tag coupled with high financing rates will likely prolong the rebuilding task for many producers.