Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit, held a hearing to evaluate the effectiveness of farm bill authorized credit programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). This hearing is a continuation of the committee’s hearing series to set the stage for the next farm bill. Members of the committee heard from a panel of credit institution representatives who gave their perspectives on current credit conditions as well as how credit programs impact credit availability for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners.
“Due to the downturn in the farm economy over the last four years, access to adequate credit is more essential now than ever for America’s farmers and ranchers. In order to best enable our producers to continue supplying a safe, affordable, and abundant food and fiber supply for America and the rest of the world, we must ensure that the agricultural credit policies currently in place are working and providing the liquidity producers need to meet day-to-day operating expenses. Along with a strong farm safety net—including crop insurance—credit availability is a tool we cannot afford to lose. As we approach farm bill deliberations, we need to prioritize access to credit, and I look forward to a great discussion on the program changes necessary to keep pace with the needs of producers,” Subcommittee Chairman Austin Scott said.
“Given the downturn in the farm economy and the erosion of cash reserves, securing additional credit has become a necessity for many of our producers, particularly our younger producers who are just getting their start. Access to credit, backed by a strong farm safety net, is vital to keeping our farmers and ranchers in business during times of economic uncertainty. As we move forward with our farm bill discussions, we will continue to advocate for common sense solutions that address the credit and risk management needs of rural America,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway said.
Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Subcommittee Chairman Austin Scott’s opening statement and the archived webcast.
Mr. Doug Thiessen, CEO, Alabama Ag Credit, Montgomery, AL, On behalf of the Farm Credit Council
Mr. Timothy L. Buzby, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, Washington, DC
Mr. Nathan Franzen, President Ag Division, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD, On behalf of American Bankers Association
Mr. Steve Handke, President & CEO, The Union State Bank of Everest, Everest, KS, On Behalf of Independent Community Bankers of America
Mr. Scott Marlow, Executive Director, Rural Advancement Foundation International USA, Pittsboro, NC, On behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition