THE LSU AGCENTER is once again opening its Farm Financial Assistance Hotline to help farmers who may be facing tough financial decisions because of stagnant commodity prices and increased production costs.

The hotline will be managed by the LSU AgCenter's Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness and will offer assistance for farmers in analyzing their current financial situations and developing farm financial plans for the next growing season. It can be reached by phoning (225) 578-2266.

“With dramatic increases in production costs and stagnant commodity prices, Louisiana producers may be facing some difficult financial decisions this fall,” said LSU AgCenter agricultural economist Kurt Guidry said. “Sharp increases in the cost of fuel and fertilizer have drastically altered normal cost-of-production patterns.

“At the same time, commodity prices for many of the state's agricultural commodities have failed to remain at profitable levels.”

As a result, many of the state's agricultural producers may face some difficulty in paying off 2005 operating loans and in securing operating loans for 2006 production, Guidry explained. “So producers will be forced to closely examine their financial situation and will likely have to make some tough decisions,” he said.

As part of the assistance, producers will be able to request the development of personalized farm financial plans.