The agricultural sector in South Africa is subjected to major changes due to a simultaneous influence of external and internal forces after the political changes in South Africa and its opening to the rest of the world. The external forces are mostly linked to increasing globalisation including a changing internal trade regime. Internal forces have to do with the liberalisation of agriculture and for example the changing role of government with respect to the provision of financial services. This paper indicates the effect of these influences on the financial position of the farming sector and provides a point of departure for the monitoring of future trends. It further indicates the strategies followed by farmers to counter the negative trends experienced. It is a component of a much broader study on the agricultural finance situation in South Africa.