ABA Seeks More Flexibility, Funding for USDA Guaranteed Loan Programs

ABA yesterday sent letters to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on agriculture that expressed support for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency Guaranteed Farm Loan Programs and requested, among other things, greater flexibility and funding for specific programs.

For example, the USDA’s Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan Program is currently funded at $2 billion for the 2016 fiscal year. ABA asked for the program funding to remain at $2 billion for 2017 with the ability for the secretary of agriculture to ask for up to an additional $1 billion if there is a potential budget shortfall. “This will ensure that the program will remain viable and able to assist as many farmers and ranchers as necessary,” ABA said.

For the USDA’s Guaranteed Farm Operating Loan Program, which is currently funded at $1.395 billion for 2016, ABA requested an increase in funding to $1.5 billion for 2017. In addition, the secretary of agriculture should have the ability to ask for up to an additional $1 billion if there is a potential budget shortfall or need for emergency funding.

“ABA has a great deal of concern that this program may experience budget shortfalls due to lower commodity prices in the agricultural sector,” the association said. “With this scenario playing out, it will put much more pressure on the Guaranteed Farm Operating Loan Program to assist farmers and ranchers in meeting their operating loan obligations over the coming years.”