Farm Credit Increased Quality, Quantity of Programs to Support Young, Beginning and Small Farmers in 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Farm Credit institutions increased the quality and quantity of programs and services in support of young, beginning and small (YBS) producers across the country in 2018, according to a Farm Credit Administration (FCA) report released this week. The Agency also reported favorably on Farm Credit’s work to tailor their outreach to diverse producers.
FCA shared these insights and new data from its annual survey of Farm Credit institutions’ work to support current and prospective YBS farmer customers during its August board meeting yesterday.
“Long-term, we are bullish on agriculture, and that’s borne out in Farm Credit’s support for young, beginning and small producers in 2018. While the numbers held strong, it’s important to remember the individual farmers and ranchers behind those numbers. Many are struggling with low commodity prices, terrible weather and a difficult trade situation. Farm Credit is working alongside them, helping them think through business plans and developing financing that produces the best possible outcome for their specific operation. That’s our mission and we’re committed to fulfilling it,” said Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose.
In its presentation on the report, FCA commended Farm Credit institutions’ coordination across the Farm Credit System that resulted in better outreach and education opportunities to YBS farmers. Those opportunities include working with ethnic organizations, offering scholarships and grants to continue learning or acquire new skills, and classes and webinars on business planning, personal finance, crop insurance and risk mitigation, among other topics.
Nearly 20 percent of the total number of Farm Credit loans are made to young farmers, nearly 30 percent to beginning farmers, and just over 50 percent to small farmers. In 2018, Farm Credit increased the amount of its lending to young farmers by 7.6 percent, to beginning farmers by 7.1 percent and to small farmers by 6.8 percent.
While the number of new YBS loans and the YBS share of total new loan volume decreased slightly, FCA Board Chair Glen Smith commented that this slight decline was expected, primarily because of technical counting issues associated with tracking YBS loan participations and the impact of several association mergers.
* Please note that the YBS numbers cannot be combined. A single loan to a 25-year-old rancher in her third year of ranching with annual sales of $100,000 could be counted in the young, beginning and small categories. We report this way for two reasons: the Farm Credit Administration requires us to report this way and it is the most accurate portrayal of who we serve. We anticipate a new reporting system might be in place for future years as a result of an ongoing effort by FCA to clarify reporting requirements.
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 beginning farmers and ranchers and reports its findings to Congress.
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.