Spokane Journal of Business

Northwest Farm Credit posts increase in earnings

Cooperative also reports 2 percent rise in capital

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Northwest Farm Credit Services, the Spokane-based agricultural lending cooperative, has reported first-quarter net income of $74.8 million, up from $65.4 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The cooperative also posted a 2 percent increase in total capital, to $2.4 billion, during the quarter.

Northwest Farm Credit attributed the increase in earnings primarily to a refund of premiums paid previously to the Farm Credit System Insurance Corp. That federal corporation ensures the timely payments of notes, bonds, and other obligations issued on behalf of Farm Credit banks.

The increase in earnings comes at a time when the national agricultural sector is facing a number of challenges, Northwest Farm Credit President and CEO Phil DiPofi said in a press release.

“Despite the economic downturn facing many U.S. farmers and ranchers, most Northwest producers have come through the 2017 growing season relatively well,” he says.

In a report released last month, the cooperative said wheat growers could see slight profitability during the next 12 months. The average price for wheat during the 2017-18 season is projected at $4.60 to $4.70 a bushel, just above the cost of production.

Washington state vineyards produced 227,000 tons of grapes last year, the second-largest tonnage on record. Sales remain strong, but so does competition in that market, according to the report.

In the tree-fruit industries, apple and pear growers are expected to experience slight profitability this year. The market for cherries, however, is split, with prices expected to compress late in the season.

Row crops are expected to be profitable across the board, with prices for early-harvested potato crops expected to be especially strong.

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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