Highlighting the critical role the nation’s 1,912 farm banks play in financing the operations of America’s farmers and ranchers, ABA called for changes in the upcoming Farm Bill to the USDA Guaranteed Farm Loan Program in a written statement for the record of a House Agriculture Committee hearing yesterday.
“Our nation’s farmers and ranchers are critical resources to our economy,” the association said. “Ensuring that they continue to have access to adequate credit to thrive is essential for the well-being of our whole nation. America’s banks remain well-equipped to serve the borrowing needs of farmers of all sizes.”
As Congress prepares to renegotiate the Farm Bill, ABA urged lawmakers to increase the current loan limit of $1.399 million on Farm Service Agency Guaranteed loans, noting that the formula for indexing the programs has not kept pace with the rising cost of agriculture. Increasing the loan caps would allow lenders to continue meeting the needs of their agricultural borrowers, particularly those who are young, beginning or small farmers or ranchers, ABA said.
ABA also urged lawmakers to take steps to modernize technology and increase staffing at FSA, consider bringing back FSA’s interest assistance programs and examine regulations that have been put in place surrounding confined animal feeding operations for FSA loan programs. The association also highlighted the ways in which the tax-advantaged Farm Credit System has far exceeded its statutory mandate, increasing taxpayer risk while shifting its lending operations away from young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. For more information, contact ABA’s Ed Elfmann.