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The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct farm loan program is designed to provide credit to family-sized farms unable to obtain credit from conventional sources at reasonable rates and terms despite having sufficient cash flow to repay and an ability to fully securitize the loan. FSA policy encourages borrowers to exit the program as soon as possible. This study uses Cox proportional hazard models in a competing risks framework to identify predictive factor of: (1) loan success or default, and (2) length of time to loan termination. Survey data from 1925 direct loans originated in federal fiscal years 1994-95 are used for analysis. Only data available to FSA at time of origination were collected. Since these data are all the information FSA has at time of loan origination, the competing risk models provide an alternative method for measuring priori relative riskiness indicated by borrower and loan characteristics. Results indicate that borrower financial strength, intensity of borrowers' current relationship with FSA and loan characteristics are significant measures of loan risk.


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