Organizations Urge Congress to Reject FCS Proposal
The FCS lending portfolio is focused on lending to large, strong borrowers. Their portfolio of loans at the end of 2006 consisted of 58% of its lending in loans over $500,000 and 24% of its lending in loans over $5 million.
The signing organizations recommend that Congress re-evaluate credit in rural America and address the clear needs of these farmers and ranchers, in particular those that are 34 years of age and younger. As part of that review it is important to examine the role that FCS lending is playing in the overall access to credit for independent diversified family farm operations. In 1978, the Census of Agriculture reported that there were over 350,000 farmers age 34 and younger listing farming as their primary occupation. In 2002, the Census of Agriculture showed a precipitous drop to roughly 70,000 in that age bracket that listed farming as their primary occupation.
“Many farmers and ranchers with whom we work have been critical of the Farm Credit System, and they say they are really no different than a traditional bank and they tend to be considered the most conservative lenders in the marketplace. The system as a whole has not demonstrated a serious commitment to addressing the challenges small and mid-size, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers encounter. These farmers and ranchers should be at the core of their mission” adds Bruckner.