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Farm Credit Grows Its Commitment to America’s Young, Beginning, and Small Farmers and Ranchers

Farm Credit institutions increased their support of young, beginning, and small (YBS) farmers across the country in 2020, according to a Farm Credit Administration *(FCA) report. Farm Credit provided $138.4 billion in loans to YBS producers in 2020.  

“In the midst of a pandemic, Farm Credit leaned into its mission and strengthened its support for young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. The commitment Farm Credit lenders make to YBS farmers and ranchers does not waver, in good years or bad. It’s a critical part of our mission, and we’re dedicated to fulfilling it regardless of a pandemic, low commodity prices, challenging trade environments or anything else,” said Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose.

At Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica), which serves agricultural producers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, about 45% of customers are young, beginning and/or small. FCSAmerica has loan products and educational programs designed to meet the unique needs of young, beginning, and small (YBS) producers. In 2020, FCSAmerica provided $8.4 billion in loans to its YBS producers. 

A comparison of FCA national data for the past three years, from 2018 to 2020, demonstrates Farm Credit’s growing commitment to young, beginning and small producers: 

Young Producers

  • In 2020, Farm Credit made 65,807 loans to producers whose age was less than 36 years, compared to 49,104 in 2019 and 46,680 in 2018. 
  • Similarly, the dollar amount of loans outstanding to young farmers grew to $33.6 billion at yearend 2020 compared to $31 billion at yearend 2019 and $30.9 billion at yearend 2018.
  • Over the past three years, Farm Credit made more than 160,000 loans to young agricultural producers for $33.7 billion. 

Beginning Producers

  • Over the past three years, Farm Credit made nearly a quarter of a million (223,740) loans to ag producers with 10 years or less of experience to help them get started in production agriculture. 
  • In 2020, the number of new loans made by Farm Credit institutions to beginning producers jumped to 94,329 as compared to 67,088 in 2019 and 62,323 in 2018. 
  • Loan volume outstanding at yearend to these producers grew as well to $54.8 billion in 2020, compared to $48.6 billion in 2019 and $47.1 billion in 2018.   

Small Producers

  •  At the end of 2020, nearly half (49.8%) of all loans outstanding in the Farm Credit System were to ag producers with less than $250,000 in farm sales.
  • New loans made by Farm Credit to these producers in 2020 grew dramatically to 166,282 from 123,494 in 2019 and 114,817 in 2018. 
  • From 2018-2020, Farm Credit made in total some $50 billion in new loans to small ag producers. 
  • At yearend 2020, Farm Credit had $160 billion in loans outstanding to small producers. 

In 2020 alone, according to the FCA’s data, new loans made by Farm Credit to young farmers increased by 37%, to beginning farmers by 57% and to small farmers by 63%. 

As FCA indicated at its board meeting, these strong increases were driven by a favorable interest rate environment for new loans and refinancing loans, Farm Credit serving its customers through the Paycheck Protection Program and strong demand for real estate and equipment purchases. 

The 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 YBS farmers and ranchers and reports its findings to Congress. 


Side by Side Digital Series

Farm Credit Services of America launched an ongoing educational series that tackles topics tailored to young and beginning producers.



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FCSAmerica serves farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. For inquiries outside this geography, use the Farm Credit Association Locator  to contact your local office.