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The number of farms experiencing financial stress continued abnormally large into 1985, especially for dairy, cash grain, and livestock producers in the Northern Plains, Lake States, and Com Belt. USDA's Farm Costs and Returns Survey, conducted in the spring of 1985, indicated that almost 320,000 farms (18 percent of the survey's estimated number of farms) closed out the year with a debt load exceeding 40 percent of the value of their assets. Farms with such high debt loads are susceptible to financial problems. Approximately 214,000 of those farms were estimated to be unable to cover production expenses, family living needs, and debt principal repayments out of current farm and nonfarm income


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