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More farmers feel pressure from banks to catch up on loans

Many farmers continue to lose money in this recession.

And more say they're feeling pressure from banks to catch up with their loans. The Wisconsin Farm Center mediates those disputes and coordinator Roger James says they've handled more than 250 cases in the first nine months of this year.

That's 2.5 times the number from all of last year. And it's a similar increase above the last farm crisis of the late 1980s.

James said 38 cases resulted in mediation last year, and those numbers are expected to grow for 2009.

La Crosse bankruptcy attorney David Russell says some farmers believe the walls are closing in.

He said those who didn't have savings are out of business, while others watch their savings disappear.

He expects many farmers to seek bankruptcy in the next few months.

But James says farmers might be able to avoid that by keeping an open dialogue with their lenders.

He says they might be able to restructure their loans and get lower payments.