The bank watchdog arm of a Wisconsin agricultural group is concerned that farmers will face an increasing credit crunch as big banks gobble up more market share from small community banks.

In a study of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, the Wisconsin Rural Development Center of Monona, Wis., found that community banks with assets under $100 million lost market share for farm production loans between 1995 and the first quarter of 1999. Over that period, their market share dropped to 37.3% from 51%.

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