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Farm Credit Continues Strong Support for America’s Young, Beginning, and Small Farmers and Ranchers

Farm Credit Council News Release from WASHINGTON, D.C.

Farm Credit continued its strong support last year for young, beginning, and small farmers across the country, according to figures released by the Farm Credit Administration today. By the end of 2016, Farm Credit had increased outstanding loan volume to all three categories, despite the current difficult economic cycle affecting U.S. farmers and ranchers.

"I compliment them [Farm Credit] on their work. Part of it is making loans, but more important is that YBS customers are supported after the loan is made," said FCA Board Member Jeff Hall today when the FCA Board reviewed the figures at its monthly meeting.

According to FCA, Farm Credit loans outstanding to young farmers (age 35 and younger) increased 2.6% over 2015 levels, to $27.8 billion. Loans outstanding to beginning farmers (10 years or less in farming) rose 3.2%, to $42.8 billion, and loans outstanding to small farmers (gross sales of less than $250,000) rose 2.1%, to $47.7 billion.

“Young and beginning farmers have unique financing needs and face real challenges in launching their businesses, especially during tough economic cycles like we’re experiencing today,” said Farm Credit Council president and CEO Todd Van Hoose. “The numbers released today by FCA demonstrate that Farm Credit is leaning in to this cycle and delivering on our commitment to young and beginning producers.”

“Small farm operations remain a core part of Farm Credit’s mission and we continued to meet their needs last year in the face of low farm commodity prices,” said Van Hoose. FCA figures revealed that at the end of 2016, Farm Credit had more than 500,000 loans outstanding to small farmers, which accounted for just over 48% of all Farm Credit farm loans outstanding.

Somewhat reflecting the difficult conditions in the farm economy, the number of new loans made to young, beginning, and small farmers remained largely flat compared to 2015, with slight decreases of 0.2%, 0.6%, and 0.2%, respectively, according to FCA’s figures.

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) is an independent federal regulatory agency charged with oversight of the Farm Credit System. It annually reviews Farm Credit’s performance on meeting the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers and reports its findings to Congress.

KEY FACTS: FARM CREDIT LENDING TO YOUNG, BEGINNING, AND SMALL FARMERS AND RANCHERS

  • Farm Credit made almost $13 billion in new loans to beginning farmers and ranchers in 2016.
    • Even as concerns rise about lower commodity prices pressuring farm profit margins, Farm Credit loaned more as a percentage of new loan volume to beginning farmers last year.
    • Farm Credit’s experienced loan officers understand the unique challenges the cyclical agricultural economy poses for beginning farmers.
  • In 2016, Farm Credit made almost $1.5 million in loans to beginning farmers every hour of every day.
    • Farm Credit’s cooperative structure promotes the best interests of our customer-owners and U.S. agriculture.
    • Farm Credit’s knowledge of local agricultural conditions and its ability to tailor financing programs positions its lenders to meet the unique needs of beginning producers.
  • In 2016, more than one in five Farm Credit loans was made to beginning farmers.
    • Last year more than 21 percent of the new loans made by Farm Credit were to beginning producers.
    • Over the past 10 years, Farm Credit has increased the number of new loans made to beginning farmers by more than 23 percent.
  • In 2016, Farm Credit made more than 149,000 loans to small farmers.
    • Last year 41% of new farm loans made by Farm Credit institutions were made to small farmers and ranchers.
  • In reporting the results of their qualitative survey of Farm Credit associations, FCA noted:
    • Increased coordination in the delivery programs for YBS farmers and ranchers with partners outside Farm Credit, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and commercial banks
    • An increase in services and tools provided by local Farm Credit associations
    • An increase in outreach, training and education to first-generation immigrants, veterans, women, minorities, youth groups, high schools, and colleges

Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. It has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for more than a century with the capital necessary to make businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information, visit www.farmcredit.com.

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