"Banks have money to lend now, but they're going to make farmers be so much more financial managers than they have in the past," said Mike Firestine, senior vice president at Fulton Bank, one of the largest ag lenders east of the Mississippi River.
said they're asking farmers to do budgets so the bank can know what the farmers are projecting for the year.
It's something their borrowers aren't used to.
"It's not a matter of just being a farmer.
You also have to be a financial manager and planner," Firestine said.
bank is working closely with the dairy industry to try to keep the books in the black.
The dairy industry earned meager profits in 2010, with breakeven prices about $16 to $17 per cwt, something they were thankful for after a disastrous 2009.
said they'd hoped 2011 would be a strong dairy year, but Pennsylvania State University
has forecast prices 30 cents below 2010 levels.
With high grain prices, Firestine
said "they have to take a good hard look at their expenses and see where they can cut their expense like every other industry trying to be profitable."
Producers who locked in feed prices will do well in the livestock sector this year, and Firestine
said dairy farmers ought to look into hedging their milk prices the way grain producers have.