Reform Farm Credit

For YBS Farmers, Less is Not More

The Farm Credit System (FCS) has a legal obligation to support young, beginning and small farmers (YBS) by providing them with sound and reliable credit. This is the most important function of the System — to preserve and maintain the future of American agriculture. If the United States government, or any government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) like Farm Credit, wishes to serve farmers, it must serve the country’s more vulnerable farmers – YBS farmers.

But new numbers are out, and they show that Farm Credit is continuing to fail its most important mission year after year.

In 2018, Farm Credit failed YBS farmers. The numbers in the Farm Credit Funding Corporation’s annual reports don’t lie (2018 annual report2017 annual report). The number of loans outstanding to YBS farmers fell in every category: 5.5% for young, 3.4% for beginning and nearly 7% for small. That’s more than 10,000 loans for young farmers, more than 9,000 for beginning, and 34,000 for small farmers.

The drop in new loans to YBS farmers is even worse: nearly 18% for young, nearly 15.5% for beginning, and more than 16% for small. That’s a drop in 10,000, loans for young, 11,000 loans for beginning and 22,000 for small.

Outstanding loans of less than $50,000 have also plummeted. YBS farmers desperately need these loans – it could be the difference between keeping their operation running or having to sell the farm. The total number of outstanding loans less than $50,000 fell more than 23%, and the total dollar amount fell more than 29%. The total number of new loans less than $50,000 fell by nearly 48%, and the total dollar amount fell by 30.5%.

The FCS’s regulator, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), believes that “the decrease in the number of new and outstanding loans was primarily driven by the way System institutions have been tracking loan participations.” Its explanation for such a plunge in numbers is what amounts to a clerical change. Sorry, but reasonable observers don’t buy that.

The Farm Credit System failed YBS farmers in 2018. Fewer YBS farmers received new loans from the Farm Credit System. The YBS farmers who have outstanding loans are now fewer. And for those critical loans of $50,000 or less, the number of loans and number of dollars loaned decreased drastically. Farm Credit failed.

This has all happened while, according to the FCA, the total loan dollar volume (i.e. the amount of money loaned out) has increased by 3.2%. So there’s more money going out in loans – who is actually getting it if it isn’t YBS farmers?

It’s not too hard to find out what kinds of entities benefit from Farm Credit’s expansion – real estate investment trusts (REITs) which own “server farms,” purchasers of luxury properties in Hawaii and multinational corporations that need to shore up their foreign ventures.

This is nothing new. The Farm Credit System failed to adequately serve YBS farmers in 2017.

Farm Credit is a GSE. It has a public mission. YBS farmers are a part of the public, and are identified as a part which needs extra support from Farm Credit specifically. Farm Credit has failed to fulfill that mission.

The FCA seems willing to accept and propagate excuses that most wouldn’t swallow. It’s up to Congress to take this issue head-on: more oversight hearings, more inquiries and more explanations. Congress should demand nothing less.

Views

2020 Presidential Candidate Pushes Reforming Farm Credit

It’s campaign season! Even though the 2020 elections are more than a year away, presidential candidates have hit the campaign trail to discuss policy and share their vision with voters.

Reform Farm Credit is pleased to announce that reforming Farm Credit is now a 2020 campaign issue!

Earlier this month, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) released her proposal for “A New Farm Economy.” Detailed and thorough, it outlines her many ideas on how to reinvigorate rural America, including how to expand farmers’ access to credit by reforming the Farm Credit System (FCS).

Continue Reading

Views

New GAO Report Finds that Farm Credit is Underserving Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

When Congress reconsidered federal agricultural policy in the 2018 Farm Bill, it made a few changes to the Farm Credit System (FCS).

Among the Farm Bill’s many important provisions, Congress tasked the Government Accountability Office (GAO), commonly known as “Congress’ watchdog,” with investigating how Farm Credit is addressing the agricultural credit needs of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers (SDFRs).

Farm Credit’s got a lot of work to do.

Continue Reading

Views

Farm Credit Florida Provides $8.5 Million Loan for Equestrian Site

The Farm Credit System’s (FCS) constituent associations are no strangers to funding luxury purchases extraneous to its mission to support American agriculture. Loans for mansions in the Denver suburbspurchasing the naming rights for a golf tournament and loans for luxury properties in Hawaii find their place on Farm Credit associations’ ledgers. 

Those entries won’t be lonely any time soon.

Continue Reading

Views

Is Farm Credit Prepared for a Systematic Failure?

It’s no secret that agriculture is hard, especially for young, beginning and small farmers who have fewer resources at their command. If a downturn is imminent, will the Farm Credit System (FCS) be able to weather the storm?

 

According to a recent report by the Financial Times, shaky land values are propping up borrowing by farmers now, but that could soon change. The report states in no uncertain terms that loan “delinquencies are also creeping up inside the government-sponsored Farm Credit System, which accounts for 40 percent of US farm debt.”

Continue Reading

Views

FCS Underserving Indian Tribes

Congress reconsiders federal agricultural policy every five years in a massive piece of legislation called the Farm Bill. The latest Farm Bill, passed in 2018, made some big changes to the Farm Credit System (FCS).

One of the more important provisions enacted by the Farm Bill is a directive to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), commonly known as “Congress’ watchdog,” to investigate the agricultural credit needs of Indian tribes, what barriers stand in the way, and how Farm Credit’s lending activities play into the status quo. Continue Reading

Views

Farm Credit Council Fighting to Maintain FCS’s Triple Counting of YBS Loans

The Farm Credit System (FCS) has a legal obligation to furnish sound and constructive credit to young, beginning and small (YBS) farmers and producers. And after a number of questions were raised about many loans the system has made to these farmers, the FCS’s regulator, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), has decided that after twenty long years, it needs to reform its regulations on YBS farmers.

But not if Farm Credit Council (the FCS’s lobbying arm) has its way.

Continue Reading

Views

Ag Census Shows Farm Credit Leaving YBS Farmers Behind

Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts a Census of Agriculture to gather information on the state of agriculture in the US. And this year brings bad news for the Farm Credit System (FCS) and the young, beginning and small farmers and producers that it has a legal duty to serve.

Continue Reading

Views

As Farm Credit Associations Grow, Loans to Farmers Stay Stagnant

It’s no secret that rural America has seen tough times in recent years. Low commodity prices, tariffs and poor weather haven’t helped. In the words of Compeer Financial’s CEO Rod Hebrink, “There’s a bleeding going on.”

Continue Reading

Views

FCA Covers Up the Unfair Advantages of the Farm Credit System

Too often, the Farm Credit System’s (FCS) regulator, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) defends the FCS when it should be rigorously regulating it. It doesn’t matter whether the FCS is under Congress’s, the news media’s or even taxpayers’ scope – the FCA always seems to have the System’s back and consistently covers for it.

Continue Reading

Views

JOIN US!

Help us Reform Farm Credit

Scroll to top