Happy farmers make for happy economy

Farmers play a big role in the status of local economy.

Many economists agree Amarillo's economy is better than much of the country, and the farmers in the Texas Panhandle have played a big role in keeping the area on the charts.

Though many farmlands have suffered from the drought, harvest is showing more bushels than this time last year.

"At the same time, there have been drought conditions elsewhere in the country," Happy State Bank Economist Karr Ingham said. "So, this means prices for what we grow around here are going up. But that's a good set of circumstances for us because we're actually able to grow something here and then sell it for these higher prices."

Still, some farmers continue to make their way to the bank for loans.

"I had a few of those folks that had carryover years not able to pay out their lines of credit," Happy State Bank Executive Vice President of Loans Gary Hinders said. "It's tremendous news to have a year like this year to help clean up some of those deals."

But Ingham said though farmers may have carryovers to worry about, they know how to handle their finances and are likely to come out of a bind.

"We're in better economic condition overall than other places around the country. We weathered the recession very well- we were sort of the last in/first out of that recession. And, so, our overall economic circumstances are pretty good."

The prosperity of local farmers gives potential for a prosperous economy.

"We're hearing of some yields over 250 bushels an acre, which is fabulous," Hinders added, "even to the extent that we've had several of our lenders here in the last week or so say they've got some customers looking to figure out some ways to spend some money. So, I think that votes well for the Panhandle area."