Welcome to the last lap of 2020!! I hope this message finds you and yours doing well. December is always a special time as we reflect on the blessings we have received, especially in this COVID-dominated year. Remember March and April? I do! Making decisions that had never been made or done before was scary. Is this the right decision? How is this going to turn out? Throughout the entire year, I always leaned on my faith and our vision To Be The Preferred Source of Agricultural Lending which guided HPFC to where we needed to go, and I believe we have been blessed because of it. I hope you feel the same.
COVID-19 RESPONSE – Our offices remain open to farmers and ranchers by appointment. We are always available to meet at your operation too. We will continue to monitor the county health statistics and hope to be operating “at normal” soon.
LOWERING INTEREST RATES – We rolled up our sleeves to process a record number of new loans and stockholder interest rate conversion requests in 2020 which helped our customers lock in record low interest rates. High Plains Farm Credit saved our customers over $40 million in future interest expense in 2020 and there is still time to take advantage! Depending on the term of the loan, you may qualify for a long-term farm real estate or short-term operating note interest rate with a 5, 4 or even a 3 in front of it. Your effective interest rate is lowered by another ONE PERCENT when you take into account our patronage program. We stand ready to better position your operation for the future!
HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS – 2020 taught us how important relationships are. As I mentioned earlier, we helped hundreds of farmers and ranchers lower their interest rates. Some of those were referred by our stockholders, so we developed the Help Your Neighbors referral program as a thank you for making your cooperative stronger. Each customer referral we successfully close a loan for will qualify you for a $25 gift card to the farm supply store of your choice. All successful referrals will participate in the $2,000 farm supply grand prize drawing at the end of next year. Reward yourself and your neighbors by referring them to High Plains Farm Credit today!
2021 OUTLOOK – The USDA is projecting 2020 U.S. farm net cash income to increase to $134.1 billion, the highest since 2014. This increase is due to the run-up in commodity prices and the release of the second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments. Although, government payments won’t be as high in 2021, robust economic growth as the U.S. recovers from the pandemic shutdown will help boost commodity prices and farm income next year. Our interest rate forecasts indicate interest rates will continue to remain low. We have been blessed with rain the past several years which may come to an end next year. Strong La Nina conditions (hot and dry weather) are forecasted over the Plains states for 2021, so you may want to keep an eye on these developments.
As we wind down 2020, we do so with a sense of gratitude for letting High Plains Farm Credit continue to be your trusted partner. It has been our pleasure to serve you and our rural communities during this most unusual of years. On behalf of our Board of Directors, and Employees, I wish you and yours a Blessed, Joyous and Merry Christmas, with the hope that together we continue to find success well into 2021 and beyond.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,