Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Lenders Trying to Sell More Than 100,000 Acres in State/acquired from Distressed Farmers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Lenders Trying to Sell More Than 100,000 Acres in State/acquired from Distressed Farmers

Article excerpt

Efforts to sellmore than 100,000 acres of Oklahoma farmland, acquired from distressed farmers in recent years, are now under way by two of the nation's primary farm lenders, it was reported Wednesday.

However, care is being taken to avoid depressing land values further, said Ernest Hellwege, director of the Farmers Home Administration in Oklahoma, and Mary Maloney, manager of public affairs for the cooperatively-owned Farm Credit System in Wichita, which handles operations in Oklahoma.

- The Farmers Home Administration had an inventory of 209 farms involving 70,446 acres on Feb. 10, said Hellwege. A self-imposed moratorium on sales has been lifted in Tillman, Ottawa, Cherokee, Nowata and Delaware counties.

The counties with the most FmHA listings now include Tillman with 2,996 acres in 10 properties, McCurtain with 4,871 acres in 12 properties, Cimarron with 4,800 in 12, and Choctaw with 4,650 in 12.

- The Farm Credit System had 30,081 acres in about 100 units in Oklahoma, said Maloney. While the organization did not have a mortatorium, the agency has been more aggressive in moving farmland off its inventory since a special task force went into operation in December.

The task force works solely with distressed loans and acquired property so that loan officers can concentrate on performing loans.

The moves to sell land are part of larger actions in several Midwestern states, where farmers have had difficulties in recent years.

Land values have fallen 58 percent in Oklahoma from a market high in 1981, according to a report last December by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and 51 percent for the 10th Federal Reserve District, which includes seven midwestern states. …

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