Farm loan delinquencies and chargeoffs rose last year at California banks, researchers reported, and bankers and economists are blaming El Nino weather patterns and falling Asian demand.

A new report by Veribanc, a Wakefield, Mass., re-search firm, indicates that delinquent farm loans in California increased by more than one-third in 1997, to 0.93% of all agricultural loans. That's up from 0.67% the year before, according to Veribanc's analysis of Federal Reserve data.

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