“Hope springs eternal,” as the saying goes. It’s human nature to hope for the best, even in the face of great adversity.

Agriculture certainly faced more than its fair share of adversity in 2018. But the flipping of the calendar to a new year always brings fresh optimism, and we have good reason to hope that agriculture can turn over a new leaf in 2019.

To be honest, there wasn’t much hope to be found in a recent survey released by the Wisconsin Bankers Association. While the state’s overall economy is enjoying strong performance, and 85 percent of bankers surveyed rate Wisconsin’s current economic health as good or excellent, agricultural loans are the exception to the rule.

More than 90 percent of bankers say ag loan demand will remain the same or weaken even further in the year ahead. No one rated the status of ag loans as excellent, and more than 80 percent said they’re either fair or poor.

Read more in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.