Ive been buying/selling/trading in land and most every other legal commodity since 1987. Things HAVE changed. The traditional wisdom was build equity and if hard times hit you can always draw on equity until it rebounds. Not so much any more.
In 1987 I was a 20 something year old college sophomore, had cows, had a good hay business, had a little cash. I found a nice 230 acre farm, well kept, good buildings, for 230,000. That was half price from 5 years before. Talked to the president of the local bank and he asked me a few questions, looked at my 20 percent down payment and wrote up a demand note at 12 percent. I couldnt prove cash flow on anything.
Now, or three months ago, just for curiosity sake I asked the bank president what he would loan me on demand on my signature. 20 to 25 thousand was his response. Wow! There were credit card companies giving that out not long ago on nothing. Of course thats why it is so tight now. Several big farmers, close to me, are cut off on their credit lines. The appetite for risk just isnt there. I'd plan on at least 30 percent down and a proven ability to cash flow payments.