Farm Credit is at it again.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re pushing for less oversight, resulting in more out-of-bounds lending, more mergers and less credit to deserving farmers – especially those who are young, beginning, and small(YBS). This time around they’re pushing for the Farm Credit Administration Independent Authority Act. This bill limits the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from issuing, implementing, or continuing any policy that would affect Farm Credit System (FCS), the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), or the FCA’s Board.
This push is emblematic of the rising tide of less accountability, less credit to small farmers, and a less effective enterprise. The system has demonstrated time and time again that it does not do enough to serve YBS farmers. Instead, it weaves through government loopholes to get its way.
Now, it’s pushing for a full reconstruction of its oversight.
And having been unsuccessful in achieving passage of the bill through “regular order” in the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, it is moving now to tack it on to an appropriations bill.
Whether it’s financing exclusive beach homes or large, multinational corporations, Farm Credit has historically ignored caveats to stick to its mission; instead, it goes its own way. This new push from Farm Credit is blatantly clear: to consolidate their power and provide less visibility into their operations to the American taxpayer.
The Farm Credit Administration Independent Authority Act will hurt small farmers in the process and will keep Farm Credit on its perilous path.
What was once a system of 200 associations has now dwindled to just over 60. Associations with billions of dollars in assets are being taxed at a laughable rate, while farmers struggle to stay afloat. YBS farmers are at risk of less access to credit and less direct representation on the association’s boards while the System continues its mission towards less and less oversight.
As farm bill discussions gain traction on the Hill, there’s no question on why Farm Credit has pushed for the Farm Credit Administration Independent Authority Act. The System ignores the spirit of the law and finds success in pushing for less oversight and accountability. It’s time for Congress to return the power of Farm Credit back to those whom it was originally supposed to serve: the people.