Financial stress in agricultural cooperatives may be due to a combination of three factors: inadequate profitability, excessive debt, or high interest rates. This paper uses an analytical technique to determine the relative degree of financial stress in agricultural cooperatives attributable to each factor. Roughly 30 percent of agricultural cooperatives in our sample suffered financial stress from 1987 through 1992. The analysis indicates that the greatest portion of financial stress, 54 percent, originated from low earnings. High interest rates accounted for roughly 24 percent of the financial stress while leverage accounts for the remaining 22 percent. The results also indicate that smaller cooperatives are more than twice as likely to face financial stress than larger cooperatives. Small cooperatives are more likely to face profitability problems whereas large cooperatives are more likely to face debt and interest rate problems.


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