Checks are in the mail to cash-strapped farmers, but agricultural bankers should not assume the money will be used to pay off bank loans.

The U.S. Agriculture Department this week began distributing about $3 billion of emergency aid to farmers and ranchers hard hit by severe weather and low crop prices. The payments are part of a nearly $6 billion farm aid package approved by Congress last month and signed into law by President Clinton.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.