As if it couldn’t get any worse, the Farm Credit lending saga just took another ugly turn.
News broke last week confirming that Farm Credit has approved not one, but two lines of credit to telecom industry giants.
According to a press release and official government documents, Farm Credit lenders have teamed up to underwrite a seven-year, $225 million loan to US Cellular for “general corporate purposes” and a $200 million commitment to AT&T.
Like pouring salt into a wound, the news compounds repulsion over earlier revelations that Farm Credit issued a $725 million loan to Verizon to finance its purchase of a European cellular company.
These newest, unchained agreements couldn’t be further from the agricultural sphere in which Congress authorized the Farm Credit System to operate. Predictably, the loans, along with Farm Credit’s seeming proclivity for the telecom industry, raise far more questions than they answer.
What about the farmers? Who’s making a windfall? Where is the oversight?
While it’s unclear which is more unsettling — the lack of accountability or the risk it places upon taxpayers and small, beginning farmers — one thing’s certain: the Farm Credit System is completely out of control.