US farm debt up to 1980s levels at $409 bln - Agriculture Secy

WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Wednesday that U.S. farm debt has risen rapidly to levels seen in the 1980s at $409 billion, from $385 billion last year, with loan demand remaining “historically high”.

“Farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30 percent since 2013 – up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last year – to levels seen in the 1980s,” he said in Congressional testimony.

He added that the debt-to-asset ratio among U.S. farmers has remained relatively low thanks to firm prices for agricultural real estate. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Richard Valdmanis)