The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported that farm finances deteriorated across a swath of agricultural states during the summer and early fall, despite the Trump administration’s second round of trade aid payments and slightly higher prices, Bloomberg News reported. Farm income fell in the third quarter from a year ago in each of the seven rural states covered by the Kansas City Fed, according to its survey of agricultural credit conditions. The report cited the trade war, volatile crop prices and disruptions at a major beef processing facility. Bankers contacted by the Fed said the drop in farm income was sharper than they expected going into the summer. Respondents expect income to decline further and credit conditions to worsen in the coming months despite trade aid payments. The USDA started issuing payments from its 2019 trade aid program in August.
McClatchy Co., the third-largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. by circulation, said it has begun talks with its creditors and federal authorities about a possible government takeover of its pension fund as it tries to relieve considerable liquidity pressure due to its pension responsibilities and debt load, the Wall Street Journal reported. The 162-year-old company, which publishes 30 newspapers around the country, including the Miami Herald, Charlotte Observer, Sacramento Bee and Kansas City Star, said that it would be unable to make a required $124 million contribution next year to its pension fund. “The amount due greatly exceeds the company’s anticipated cash balances and cash flow given the size of its operations relative to the obligations due and creates a significant liquidity challenge in 2020,” the company said in its third-quarter earnings report filed on Wednesday. In late 2018, merger talks between McClatchy and Tribune Publishing Co. fell apart largely due to questions about how to finance the deal given McClatchy’s substantial debt burden. In the quarter, the company reported a net loss of $304.7 million, largely due to a noncash impairment charge related to the valuation of its assets. On an adjusted basis, McClatchy reported a loss of $1.3 million compared with a loss of $23.8 million in the same quarter last year. The company has reported a net loss in nine of its previous 12 quarters.