Today, Reps. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.) introduced the Access to Credit for our Rural Economy Act of 2023, or ACRE, to benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities by providing flexibility to more financial institutions to offer affordable credit to agricultural borrowers. ACRE would reduce interest payments, increasing the cash flow for agricultural operations and reducing the need for off-farm income.
ACRE would amend IRS code to level the playing field for community banks to administer agricultural real estate loans by granting them tax exempt status on earned interest. The same exemption already applies to farm credit institutions. The exemption also would apply to single-family home mortgage loans in rural communities with fewer than 2,500 residents and for mortgages less than $750,000. ABA estimates that the legislation would expand access to affordable agricultural and home loans to more than 4,000 rural communities. ACRE would deliver approximately $1.4 billion in annual interest expense savings to farmers and ranchers in 2023—approximately $950 million in annual interest expense savings for loans secured by farmland and $450 million for rural mortgages, according to ABA figures.
“This bipartisan legislation will provide critical economic support to rural communities by lowering the cost of credit for rural Americans looking to buy a home or farmland,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. We urge all members of the House to cosponsor this critically important piece of legislation.”
Noting that rising interest rates and record inflation have “stifled” younger producers and prevented rural families from securing home mortgages, Feenstra said Main Street lenders need the flexibility to offer loans at “affordable rates to grow rural communities.” To help raise awareness about the bill, ABA has provided an ACRE toolkit for member banks.