Blog

  • Farm Credit’s Unfair Edge

    Farm Credit Watch • 10.10.17

    The details are everything. One gritty detail, often overlooked, is that Farm Credit is allowed to have in-house appraisers – just one of its many advantages over small, rural farm banks, and an Achilles heel that could threaten its stability. The case of LoneStar ACA, a Farm Credit association in Texas, is especially illustrative. It […]

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  • Lone Star Ag Credit’s ‘Irregularities

    Farm Credit Watch • 09.15.17

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) can’t seem to shake its reputation for shoddy accounting and questionable deals. On top of targeting a bankrupt college, creating “a shell corporation to funnel federal money” in Connecticut and its usual questionable loans to huge corporations, now one FCS association has run into trouble. Big trouble. Lone Star ACA, […]

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  • When will Farm Credit Help Beginning Farmers

    Waste • 08.25.17

    Leave it to the Farm Credit System (FCS) and its defenders to say the obvious and do little to actually bring it about. Young, beginning and small farmers across the country are hungry for credit, and the FCS has an abundance of resources to lend to them. According to Farms.com, the Farm Credit Council’s (FCC) Mark […]

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  • Huge FCS Merger Leaves Compeer Financial High on the Hog

    Farm Credit Watch • 08.01.17

    On June 27, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) Board gave approval for the creation of Compeer Financial through a merger of Badgerland Financial, 1st Farm Credit Services and AgStar Financial Services. “The merger, proposed last September, was finalized on July 1 after 18 months of discussion and voting by the new organization’s 43,000-plus member-owners, of whom about 16,000 are in Wisconsin,” reported The Wisconsin State Journal. “Its ‘bread and butter service’ is lending, though Compeer also provides crop insurance, appraisals, and tax and accounting services in Wisconsin.”
    The issues arising from this merger are manifold.

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  • Cap and Frown: FCS targets bankrupt college

    Farm Credit Watch | Risk • 07.26.17

    Flash back to May 2013: St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, is facing “a ‘dire’ financial situation.” The $15 million to $20 million offered by the Mayo Clinic was not enough — St. Joseph’s College needed “a total cash influx of $100 million,” according to Inside Higher Ed. Between a rock and a hard place, […]

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  • Credit where credit’s due

    Farm Credit Watch | Waste • 06.27.17

    If it were a bank, the Farm Credit System (FCS) would be the seventh largest in the country. At $320 billion in total assets, the FCS has grown beyond its mission. How did it get there?
    There are many reasons, but one’s certain: it has neglected the credit needs of young, beginning and small farmers.

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  • Farm Credit’s Lax Standards

    Neglect | Risk | Waste • 06.12.17

    Congress needs to act. The FCS has shown, repeatedly, that it cares more about profits than it does farmers, especially young, beginning and small farmers. Congress, take action: keep the FCS in line by cracking down and making sure that a certain percentage of loans are for small, young and beginning farmers. Future Americans will thank you.

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  • Let’s Really Help Farmers

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 05.18.17

    US Rep. Jenkins’ bill is a step in the right direction, and the RFC team endorses it with enthusiasm. By supporting this bill, members of Congress can take action to relieve small farmers and revitalize rural America. The stage is set: Congress, pass this bill! Farmers, ranchers and producers across the country will thank you for it.

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  • You pay your fair share of taxes. Why doesn’t Farm Credit?

    Neglect | Risk | Waste • 05.01.17

    While ordinary Americans and businesses across the country have paid their fair share of taxes, the Farm Credit System (FCS) has continued to get away with paying a pitifully low tax rate for 2016. 3.61 percent.

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  • Big Surprise! Farm Credit Faced Yet Another Oversight Hearing

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 04.05.17

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) and the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), only a month after being exposed at the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee oversight hearing, were called before the House Committee on Agriculture for a “review”. Review is a bit of an understatement; if the FCS and the FCA have any more reviews like this then they’ll suffocate under the weight of the criticism.

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  • Farm Credit Faced an Oversight Hearing – Again

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 03.13.17

    Rep. DeLauro has said what many have thought: Congress desperately needs to reform Farm Credit. So far, multiple committees in both the House and the Senate have decided that Congress needs to take a closer look at the FCS and the FCA. And it should, because the FCS is on the precipice: it is growing larger every day, small farmers are being neglected and the FCS continues to make loans outside of its mission. Congress needs to act now.

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  • The Farm Credit System (FCS) has been having some serious trouble with the law.

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 03.08.17

    If the FCA won’t step in, then Congress needs to. Congress – whether it’s the House or Senate Committees on Agriculture of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform or the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – needs to act before it’s too late.

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  • Did Farm Credit East Commit a Crime?

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 02.06.17

    For now, it looks like Farm Credit East has temporarily evaded justice, and the FCS and the FCA have escaped blame for their negligence. But they’ll soon reap what they’ve sewn.

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  • Reform Farm Credit’s Year in Review!

    Farm Credit Watch • 01.26.17

    Reform Farm Credit (RFC) has been working for two years to bring the accountability that the Farm Credit System (FCS) sorely needs. And the past year has seen some good movement in making sure the FCS is following its mission to provide reliable access to credit for all farmers – especially those who need it […]

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  • Does Farm Credit Walk the Walk?

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk • 01.18.17

    It’s no secret that farmers, especially young, beginning and small farmers, are struggling in this economy. To survive through the tough times, and to thrive during the good times, farmers need reliable access to credit. And the Farm Credit System’s (FCS) greatest defenders always say that the FCS and the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) are here to “ensure a safe, sound, and dependable source of credit and related services for agriculture and rural America.”

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  • It’s our two-year anniversary!

    Farm Credit Watch • 12.23.16

    Although the holidays are in full swing, we hope you will take some time to read through our Reform Farm Credit blog during our two-year anniversary and learn why we keep pushing for reform to the Farm Credit System (FCS).

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  • CoBank Lends to Publicly-Traded REIT

    Neglect | Risk | Waste • 12.19.16

    CoBank just doesn’t seem to get it. Month after month, quarter after quarter and year after year, CoBank extends questionable loans to what it considers “agricultural” entities. Loans to telecommunication companies, CoBank’s customers of choice, are usually defended as necessary for providing broadband access to farmers. And despite the fact that CoBank is only authorized to loan to cooperatives, it loans to large multinational corporations all the same.

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  • Midsize farms are declining – is Farm Credit helping?

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 12.12.16

    The FCS has a duty, outlined in statute, to provide reliable access to credit for small farmers. So far, it hasn’t done its best to provide that access. And when government agencies don’t follow their mission, it’s time for Congress to take them to task.

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  • The FCA’s Revolving Door

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 12.06.16

    Hold onto your seats – the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) is going to reform itself in the next few years! Well, not really.

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  • Reform Farm Credit Wins Out in Elections

    Neglect | Risk | Waste • 11.28.16

    The polls are closed, the ballots are counted and Reform Farm Credit is still hard at work! The 2016 elections were hard fought, but fortunately many advocates for Farm Credit System (FCS) reform came out on top.

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  • USDA picks up CoBank’s slack

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 11.07.16

    CoBank, the most prominent institution in the Farm Credit System (FCS), is authorized to make loans to cooperatives that provide essential services for rural areas –electricity and telephone access are the most common. Of course, CoBank has used this to justify its horrible history of lending to huge telecoms that aren’t cooperatives – Verizon, AT&T, Frontier Communications, US Cellular – and it’s only gotten worse.

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  • Why the FCA lags behind other Federal agencies

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 10.26.16

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) and its regulator the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) had gotten a pass on nearly everything – failing its mission to help small farmers, lending for “automobiles, college tuition, investments, vacation homes or almost any credit need you may have” and lending to huge telecoms. That is, until it was reprimanded […]

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  • Is Farm Credit Growing Out of Touch?

    Neglect | Risk | Waste • 10.20.16

    We’ve seen how the Farm Credit System (FCS) has exploded in size since 2003. At $315 billion in total assets, the FCS, if it were considered a bank, would be the 9th largest in the country. And now we can see something close to an opposite trend. Almost. Over the past 14 years, while the […]

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  • Farm Credit Looms Larger and Larger

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 09.30.16

    Year after year, the Farm Credit System (FCS) has grown larger and larger. A year ago, the size of the FCS was $291 billion in total assets. And as of March 31, 2016, the FCS’s size was $315 billion in total assets.  Let that number sink in. Most community banks, by total asset size, are […]

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  • Federal lawmakers in Iowa sound the alarm on Farm Credit

    Waste • 08.29.16

    Iowa – a state with a longstanding agricultural tradition. If someone says something about agriculture there, people across the country should be sure to listen.

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  • Fannie and Freddie know their limit – does Farm Credit?

    Farm Credit Watch | Neglect | Risk | Waste • 08.15.16

    How will policymakers know when it’s in the best interests of the economy and the taxpayer to bail out the FCS? The issue lies at Congress’ feet: mandate stress testing and annual reports on the stability of the FCS or be prepared to remain in the dark on whether the FCS can withstand a devastating market crash – before it’s too late.

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  • Farm Credit’s Silent on CoBank’s Tell-All

    Farm Credit Watch | Risk • 07.28.16

    The Farm Credit Council recently quashed an “Idea Share” because of the Farm Credit System’s (FCS) desperate need for a “strategic shift in direction for reputation management.” It’s possible that the problem with their reputation is the lack of transparency – – something that is clearly not their strong suit. But nothing can be hidden in each FCS bank’s annual report. CoBank’s annual report is especially revealing.

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  • CoBank Leaves Investors in the Lurch

    Neglect | Risk | Waste • 07.20.16

    CoBank is a behemoth – it has $117 billion in total assets. If it were considered a bank, regulated like a bank and taxed like a bank, it would be the twenty-first largest bank in the country. So when CoBank throws its weight around, the ground shakes.

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  • Under Scrutiny, Farm Credit Council Quashes Idea Share

    Risk | Waste • 06.27.16

    This week the Farm Credit System (FCS) celebrates its 100 year anniversary by descending on Washington, DC to schmooze policy-makers at a congressional reception and to hold a luncheon honoring its Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives Honorees. With so many of the FCS’s members in close proximity, it would make sense for them to hold […]

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  • The Second Farm Credit Hearing: A Recap

    Neglect • 05.27.16

    Reform Farm Credit recaps the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s oversight hearing of the Farm Credit System on May 19, 2016.

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  • Check the Record – Farm Credit’s Systemic Risk

    Risk • 05.09.16

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) has been on an irresponsible lending binge since its last bailout in 1987. This time around, the FCS could cost taxpayers billions.

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  • Check the Record – If it looks like a loan and acts like a loan, it’s a loan

    Risk • 05.02.16

    Farm Credit bends the rules to chase a quick buck. This time, they are trying to issue loans to non-eligible entities by branding them as “investments.”

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  • Check the Record – Farm Credit’s Checking Account Scheme 

    Risk • 04.01.16

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) continues to overstep their legal boundaries and act like community banks.

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  • Check the Record – Brother, Can You Spare an Oil Lease?

    Waste • 03.24.16

    Oil derricks. Vertical wells. Hydraulic fracturing. Doesn’t sound like agriculture, does it? It does to the Farm Credit System (FCS).

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  • Check the Record – FCA Admits to Leaving Out Small Farmers

    Neglect • 03.14.16

    The past 10 years have seen the FCS’s investment in young and beginning farmers stagnate, while loans to small farmers have dropped surely and steadily.

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  • Farm Credit Reaps What It Sowed

    Neglect • 02.25.16

    Farmers across the country are tightening their belts as agricultural commodities take a hit in the marketplace. Why isn’t the FCS helping?

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  • CT Judge Calls for Federal Investigation of Farm Credit East

    Waste • 02.11.16

    The FCS has had its fair share of unauthorized loans and transgressions, but this one takes the cake.

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  • Farm Credit Conceals Unauthorized Lending

    Waste • 02.05.16

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) has a well-documented history of operating out of the bounds of its charter to its advantage. The last time it over-expanded, it held its hand out expectantly, waiting for the Treasury to issue it a $4 billion bailout.

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  • Study Slams Farm Credit System

    Risk • 01.22.16

    Nebraska, the heartland of America, where corn and wheat grow tall and cattle grow fat. An outside observer would think that in Nebraska, of all places, there would be a lot of support for the Farm Credit System (FCS), right? Take another guess.

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  • Senior Democrat on House Committee on Agriculture Calls Out CoBank

    Risk • 01.05.16

    Last month the House Committee on Agriculture grilled the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) on its inability to keep the Farm Credit System (FCS) in check. And word has been getting out.

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  • Deposits by Any Other Name

    Risk • 12.21.15

    Are the Farm Credit Administration and the Farm Credit System taking too much liberty in how they follow their own rules?

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  • The Farm Credit Hearing: A Recap

    Neglect • 12.09.15

    Since no one should have to sit through two and a half hours of testimony from the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), the Reform Farm Credit team has decided to give a rundown of the committee’s best questions and the FCA’s lackluster responses.

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  • FCA Regulation Gone Rogue

    Neglect • 11.04.15

    The Farm Credit Administration is finally getting into the regulation game.

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  • The Hard Truth Behind Farm Credit’s Tax Breaks

    Waste • 10.26.15

    Underneath the mountains of impenetrable data and one-off feel-good stories lies the hard truth about the Farm Credit System’s (FCS) tax breaks.

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  • FCA short changes Young, Small and Beginning Farmers

    Risk • 10.19.15

    The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) likes to bury the truth under mountains of data and vague platitudes, but even still, we’ve found the answer to our question: how much of the Farm Credit System’s (FCS) lending is to young, small and beginning farmers?

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  • CoBank Hangs Up on Farmers and Lends to Telecoms…Again

    Neglect • 10.07.15

    If you thought CoBank had put a stop to their irresponsible mission creep, you’d be dead wrong. This time, CoBank, an affiliate bank of the Farm Credit System (FCS), has fallen back on one of its old standards: lending to huge telecoms.

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  • Senate puts a leash on Fannie and Freddie regulator

    Neglect • 09.29.15

    Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like the Farm Credit System (FCS), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are no strangers to huge federal bailouts. And while Congress has been willing, in the past, to bail them out when they’ve gone too far, Congress isn’t always willing to kowtow whenever Fannie, Freddie or the FCS make demands.

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  • Cobank props up foreign subsidiary of failing publicly-traded lumber company

    Waste • 09.22.15

    Yes, you read that correctly. CoBank, a Farm Credit System (FCS) affiliate worth over $100 billion, wants to finance a failing, foreign company with tax-exempt, taxpayer-backed dollars.

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  • Farm Credit System: Luxury Housing Division

    Neglect • 09.15.15

    Eight and a half miles south of Union Station, Denver’s central hub, sits a majestic mansion. So why is the Farm Credit System (FCS) attempting to find a buyer so it can finance its sale?

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  • Here Today, Gone to Maui

    Neglect • 08.25.15

    While the Farm Credit System unabashedly advertised for recreational properties in high end magazines in the past, take note of these newer ventures: luxury properties in Hawaii.

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  • Funding Luxury? Par for the Course

    Waste • 08.11.15

    Following reports that Carolina Farm Credit underwrote publicly backed loans to maintain a luxurious private golf course, the Farm Credit System (FCS), through its affiliate CoBank, has made the news again.

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  • News of Farm Credit Fragility Hits Washington

    Risk • 08.04.15

    The Farm Credit System (FCS), much like other government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has a history of catastrophic near-collapse, saved at the last minute by federal bailouts. And as the FCS edges closer and closer to its breaking point, taxpayers may soon be responsible for picking up the pieces. The […]

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  • Fannie & Freddie shower executives with lavish pay raises

    Waste • 07.24.15

    Government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Farm Credit have a shared history of federal bailouts. They’re also predisposed to shower their senior leadership with staggering compensation packages. The saga continued this month as The Washington Times reported that the chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would receive monumental pay increases from $600,000 to $4 million.

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  • Is the Farm Credit System trying to add to the student loan bubble?

    Risk • 07.08.15

    The Farm Credit System clearly has no affiliation to the US Department of Education but has this GSE become the newest federal student loan provider?

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  • CoBank does it again – lends to investor-owned water company

    Farm Credit Watch • 07.01.15

    CoBank not only lends to investor-owned utilities, but brags about it. According to a recent blog post on AGgregator, run by the Farm Credit Council (the FCS trade association), CoBank is a substantial lender to the Connecticut Water Service, Inc. The company characterizes itself as “the largest U.S. based publicly-traded water utility company in New England.” Its ticker […]

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  • Farms =/= Golf Courses

    Waste • 06.24.15

    Are farms and golf courses one in the same? We don’t think so, either. But don’t tell that to Carolina Farm Credit, whose idea of “serving the credit needs of rural America” evidently includes underwriting publicly-backed loans for manicured putting greens, challenging bunkers and pristine fairways. Bert Ely first reported in 2002 that Carolina Farm […]

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  • America’s young & beginning farmers need proper investment.

    Neglect • 06.16.15

    According to renowned New York Times columnist and sustainable agriculture writer Mark Bittman who this week described the uncertainty facing America’s agriculture industry due to an aging populace of farmers. Bittman noted that while close to 30 percent of farmers are over the age of 65, less than 10 percent have yet to celebrate their 35th birthday.

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  • A GSE By Any Other Name

    Risk • 06.09.15

    Sprawling. Out of touch. Too big to fail. While watchdogs describe the Farm Credit System (FCS) in a number of ways, there’s one label in particular that the FCS seems to dislike and avoids calling itself at all costs: government-sponsored enterprise, or GSE. Whether calling itself the “privately, cooperatively-owned Farm Credit System” in letters, or […]

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  • Does the USDA’s $4bn farm assistance work? No one knows for sure.

    Neglect • 05.26.15

    As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit recently concluded that the department does not know – and has no way of determining – if its annual beginning farmers initiative totaling nearly $4 billion has had any positive impact whatsoever.

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  • CoBank’s Credibility Problem

    Waste • 05.20.15

    After forking over an astounding $1.5 billion in credit to four of the world’s largest telecom corporations, CoBank – Farm Credit’s largest subsidiary and supposed ag lender– is at it again, this time committing hundreds of millions of dollars in new loans to major utility companies across the country. Here’s how it unfolded: On March […]

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  • Dear Farm Credit Council:

    Neglect • 05.13.15

    On February 5, the Farm Credit Council (FCC) sent a letter rife with errors, bent truths and deceptions to the House Committee on Agriculture in an effort to stave off the ever-growing cry for oversight. While trying to obfuscate the actual issues at hand, the FCC’s letter showed how out of touch it is with […]

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  • Congressman Seeks Answers to FCS Overreach

    Risk • 05.06.15

    The Farm Credit System’s (FCS) activities have in recent years left even the most casual observers scratching their heads. Now, US Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), an important member of the House Committee on Financial Services, is stepping in to get answers. On Friday, the congressman submitted a letter to the Comptroller of the Government Accountability Office […]

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  • Farm Credit Watch: Does Ken Auer fully understand the FCS’s tax advantages?

    Farm Credit Watch • 04.29.15

    Ken Auer is president of the Farm Credit Council, the FCS trade association that lobbies on behalf of the FCS and its constituent Farm Credit banks and associations.  During the 2013-14 period, the Council’s Political Action Committee raised $1.08 million and contributed $935,000 to candidates for federal office. Those contributions give the Council, and therefore the […]

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  • FCS: Betting the Farm

    Waste • 04.23.15

    From wineries to golf courses to telecom acquisition deals, Farm Credit hardly resembles the organization originally established by Congress a century ago.

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  • Farm Credit’s Tax Heist

    Neglect • 04.15.15

    It’s safe to say that most Americans wouldn’t categorize tax season as a “special time of year.” So why, then, is Farm Credit joyously announcing it as such? The answer is simple: the FCS doesn’t pay taxes like the rest of us. Instead of taking careful stock of its finances like most Americans in the […]

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  • Farm Credit Watch: CoBank overreaches, again, in lending to investor-owned utility

    Farm Credit Watch • 04.09.15

    CoBank has overreached, again, when, on March 10, acting as a co-syndication agent, it participated in a $450 million unsecured revolving credit facilities for the California Water Service Group (CWS). CWS is an investor-owned, New York Stock Exchange-listed company providing “regulated and non-regulated water service to approximately 2 million people in more than 100 California, […]

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  • Farm Credit Wants to Finance Your Next Non-Ag Venture

    Waste • 04.01.15

    The most recent edition of Garden & Gun magazine features a full-page advertisement sponsored by Farm Credit that encourages you to look to the GSE to finance your next country home or recreational property.

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  • Happy Birthday, FCA! Now, Time for a New Regulator…

    Neglect • 03.25.15

    This week marks the 82nd birthday of the Farm Credit Administration.

    If you haven’t heard of the FCA, you’re not alone. Since being charged by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 to begin regulating the Farm Credit System, the little-known federal agency has eluded scrutiny. This is disconcerting because the FCA has, at least in recent times, become Farm Credit’s chief enabler.

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  • Optimistic Outlook for Farm Banks in 2015

    Farm Credit Watch • 03.18.15

    Farm banks are well positioned for 2015. Add this to the growing list of facts and projections that Farm Credit would rather the American public not hear. According to the American Bankers Association’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report released today, farm banks upped their agricultural lending by a staggering 13.6 percent in 2014.

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  • Forget the Farmers – Farm Credit Bets Big on Luxury Pursuits

    Waste • 03.12.15

    Let’s examine the startling and true story of Patricia Kluge – the inheritor of a mansion and the recipient of $1 million in annual payments from a divorce settlement from her billionaire ex-husband.
    Aiming to grow her fortune, she opened the 960-acre Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard near the home. In an attempt to increase the winery’s output and construct luxury homes on the estate, Kluge sought – and somehow obtained – a $34 million loan from Farm Credit of Virginias (FCV).

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  • Farm Credit Administration in Hot Water as Congress Takes Notice

    Risk • 03.09.15

    If the Farm Credit Administration continues to skirt its responsibility to oversee and regulate the Farm Credit System, Congress will have to step in to investigate and oversee both entities. This is according to Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5th), who indicated last week that the time for Congress to assert its authority over these matters is near.

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  • Farm Credit Watch: FCA will bury an embarrassment through a shotgun merger

    Farm Credit Watch • 03.03.15

    The November FCW reported on an accounting scandal that had just erupted at Farm Credit Services Southwest (FCS Southwest), the FCS association serving most of Arizona plus California’s Imperial Valley. This scandal stems from the discovery during the third quarter of 2014 of “a sudden significant increase in the level of delinquent loans affecting an […]

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  • Farm Credit Watch: FCS offers weak defense to ABA’s call for oversight

    Farm Credit Watch • 02.26.15

    The FCS, through its trade association, the Farm Credit Council, quickly fired back at Keating’s call for oversight hearings. Here is the link to the Council’s very evasive, misleading letter.  Before addressing specific issues the ABA letter raised, the Council asserted that commercial banks enjoy a taxpayer subsidy while ignoring the enormous taxpayer subsidies the FCS has […]

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  • Farm Credit’s Knack for Neglect

    Neglect • 02.24.15

    The Farm Credit System (FCS) is seemingly unconcerned with Congress’s decades old directive to serve young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. Here’s what the numbers show: According to annual filings, the percentage of its total loans to this community dipped from 2012 to 2013 At the same time, the System’s profits increased from $4.34 […]

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  • Why Farm Credit Needs Immediate Oversight

    Risk • 02.20.15

    The last time the Farm Credit System was subjected to a meaningful congressional oversight hearing was years, maybe even decades ago. It really depends on who you ask. The ambiguity of it all speaks volumes about how and why the System has quietly grown into an unwieldy $266 billion government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that is looking […]

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  • USDA Begins Asking the Right Questions

    Waste • 02.13.15

    For years, as the System’s loans to corporate, non-agricultural entities have piled up, many have wondered, what happened to the ‘farm’ in Farm Credit? While the answer remains elusive, the government this week encouragingly signaled that it is willing to crack down on programs intended to help farmers that have long since run astray. According […]

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  • Top Banker to Congress: Where’s the FCS Oversight?

    Farm Credit Watch • 02.04.15

    Count traditional bankers among those whose frustrations with the Farm Credit System (FCS) are growing as quickly as the System itself.

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  • Farm Credit Watch: CoBank does big financing deals with AT&T, U.S. Cellular

    Farm Credit Watch • 01.29.15

    In just two days this month, CoBank committed to providing $425 million of taxpayer-subsidized funding to two of the largest stockholder-owned telecommunications companies – $225 million on January 22 to U.S. Cellular and $200 million on January 21 to AT&T. These loans follow on the heels of CoBank’s $350 million loan last June to Frontier […]

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  • Farm Credit Commits Half a Billion Dollars to Telecom Giants

    Risk • 01.26.15

    News broke this week confirming that Farm Credit has approved not one, but two lines of credit to telecom industry giants.

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  • Farm Credit Watch: Shedding Light on America’s Least-Known GSE

    Farm Credit Watch • 01.13.15

    by Bert Ely

    On May 8, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Treasury Department to obtain all documents related to the creation of the $10 billion line-of-credit the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation (FCSIC) obtained from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank.

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  • The Farm Credit System Comes Under Fire

    Risk • 01.07.15

    The suspect lending practices of the Farm Credit System are beginning to come under fire, from both industry publications and independent news outlets. Notably, the National Mortgage Professional Magazine posted a scathing review of the System’s financial overstepping, highlighting some of the GSE’s more egregious decisions — chief among them, the $725 million loan to […]

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  • Farm Credit Outed as Media Takes Notice

    Risk • 01.06.15

    As taxpayers, small farmers, concerned citizens and agricultural lenders sound the alarm as it relates to the reckless lending practices of the Farm Credit System, national reporters are performing their due diligence and taking notice. This week, Politico Magazine published an all-inclusive article on the federal government’s sprawling – and largely unchecked – portfolio of […]

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  • Tax Dollars Missing in Action: Just How Much is the Farm Credit System Costing Us?

    Risk • 12.04.14

    The gigantic, sprawling network of banks that makes up the Farm Credit System is many things – including a cash cow for those on the inside. Unfortunately, one entity that’s not “making bank” off of FCS is the U.S. government – and, by extension, the very American taxpayers that make the System’s financial success a […]

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  • FCS is Supposed to Lend to Young, Small Farmers — So Why are they Lending to Huge Corporations?

    Neglect • 11.17.14

    When the Farm Credit System began about a hundred years ago, it started with noble intentions. At a time when many farmers did not have readily available access to banks, and to credit, Farm Credit System banks offered a solution. They served areas, and a clientele, that more conventional and mainstream banks did not. Over […]

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