At a Senate Agriculture Committee field hearing in Kansas today, ABA highlighted the critical role that the nation’s banks play providing credit to farmers and ranchers, and advocated for changes to the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill that would take into account the rising costs of agriculture.
Testifying on behalf of the American Bankers Association, Shan Hanes, president and CEO of First National Bank in Elkhart, Kan., and a member of ABA’s Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee, urged lawmakers to reform the USDA Guaranteed Farm Loan Program, calling for an increase to the lending limit cap on guaranteed ownership and guaranteed operating loans, as well as other reforms that would help modernize the programs. He also encouraged lawmakers to make changes to agriculture risk coverage and price loss coverage programs in response to volatility in commodity prices that farmers have experienced in the last few years.
Hanes also raised concerns over the increasing size and complexity of the taxpayer-backed Farm Credit System, which, if it were a bank, would be the ninth largest in the U.S. “Congress created the FCS as a public option for farm finance 100 years ago when farmers were having trouble getting the credit they needed,” Hanes said. “These conditions no longer exist, and yet we continue to have a government assisted, tax-advantaged farm lender providing credit to customers who would be able to easily borrow from taxpaying institutions like mine.”