FCA short changes Young, Small and Beginning Farmers

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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?

It turns out, not a whole lot.

No matter how the FCA tries to manipulate it, the data speaks for itself. In an annual report the FCA recently released, Senior Economist Steven Koenig and Policy Analyst Salvatore Iannetta show that the total volume of loans to small farmers has dropped precipitously in the past ten years, while the total volume of loans to young and beginning farmers has remained pathetically low. Even worse is that these numbers aren’t as clear as they seem; some farmers are considered both small, young and beginning, and they’re being double, even triple, counted! Taken all together, this means that the FCS is misrepresenting the data and passing on reaching out to those farmers who need it the most.

Let that sink in.

A huge, multibillion-dollar, government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that is directed by statute to help young, small and beginning farmers, is failing its mission and trying to hide that failure. If it’s not loaning to young, small and beginning farmers, then where are those loans going?

Unfortunately, that answer is all too clear. Farm Credit has a long history of lending to telecoms, golf courses, and investor-owned utility companies, in addition to folks looking to buy suburban mansions or luxury property in Hawaii.

When will Congress do its job and make sure that the FCA is held accountable for regulating the FCS? Congress needs to bring the FCA to task and save taxpayers from another multibillion dollar bailout – before it’s too late.