Our Commitment to Young, Beginning & Small Producers

A critical component of Farm Credit’s mission focuses on providing assistance to young, beginning and small (YBS) farmers.

We engage across the spectrum with those entering agriculture whether they are focused on conventional, organic, sustainable, local food-related operations, direct-to-retail or other emerging business models.

Young farmers are defined as those under 36 years of age, beginning farmers are defined as having 10 years or less of experience and small farmers are defined as those having less than $250,000 in annual sales. Farm Credit first began reporting this information in 2001.

Lending Activity for Young, Beginning & Small Farmers

Every local Farm Credit institution is sensitive and responsive to the needs of YBS farmers and has a dedicated program for them. Examples of YBS programs include training and seminars on topics such as intergenerational transfer of family farms, risk management techniques, financial skills training and establishing effective business plans. For examples of YBS educational resources, please see our Farmer & Rancher Education page.

We Make Loans of All Sizes

To put Farm Credit’s commitment to small farmers and ranchers into perspective, at the end of 2016 nearly half of the more than one million Farm Credit loans outstanding were to small farmers and ranchers.

The overwhelming majority of Farm Credit loans are small in size. As shown below, 77 percent of Farm Credit borrowers have loans between $1,000 and $250,000. Only about 6 percent of Farm Credit borrowers have loans of greater than $1 million, and those customers include many farmer-owned cooperatives, rural electric cooperatives and other rural infrastructure providers whose borrowing needs are vastly larger than those of nearly all farmers.

Farm Credit Loans by Size
We Support the Future of Agriculture

In addition to direct lending activities, Farm Credit System institutions serve young, beginning and small farmers through contributions and volunteer efforts. We support of organizations such as FFA and 4-H by conducting training programs, management seminars and educational retreats for young farmers, and by supporting scholarship programs for farm youth entering college. Farm Credit also supports the Farmer Veteran Coalition and actively reaches out to veterans and returning service members seeking careers and employment in agriculture.