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The Farm Credit System: Financial Strength Benefitting Rural America

The farmers and ranchers who use its services are also the owners of the nation's cooperative Farm Credit System. Photo courtesy Farm Credit Council

The farmers and ranchers who use its services are also the owners of the nation's cooperative Farm Credit System. Photo courtesy Farm Credit Council

Today’s farms, ranches and agricultural enterprises are more diverse and more specialized. And today’s farms and related businesses require new financial services, more equity and greater flexibility from their lenders if they are to effectively manage their businesses. Producers and rural entrepreneurs of all types need access to dedicated, specialized lenders to meet their complete credit and financial services needs.

Farm Credit was created to meet that need and continues to pursue its mission of service to agriculture and rural America. Because Farm Credit institutions are cooperatively owned by the agricultural producers who borrow from them, Farm Credit remains dedicated to improving the quality of life on the farm and in rural America through competitive lending, financial services and sound business advice.

Farm Credit provides sound and dependable credit to American agricultural producers, their cooperatives and farm-related businesses. We also provide loans for things such as agricultural processing and marketing activities, rural housing, rural utilities, and international agricultural trade. We do this by making appropriately structured loans to qualified individuals and businesses at competitive rates and by providing financial services and advice. Farm Credit offers more than just a loan – we offer more than 94 years of expertise in financing and agricultural business practices.

Farm Credit institutions are chartered by the federal government and must operate within limits established by the Farm Credit Act. The Farm Credit System is regulated by an independent federal agency, the Farm Credit Administration, which has all of the enforcement, regulatory and oversight authority as other federal financial regulators.

Agricultural producers who borrow from Farm Credit are the ones who make the controlling decisions about their institution. They elect their own boards of directors and their institution’s earnings are either retained to capitalize additional lending or paid out to borrowers in the form of patronage dividends. The capital that Farm Credit loans to farmers comes from the sale of bonds on the open market by the System. Farm Credit is not subsidized by the federal government nor is it a government agency.

In addition, all Farm Credit institutions have locally tailored programs specifically focused on the needs of young, beginning and small farmers- the future of U.S. agriculture. Because System institutions are guided by boards of directors comprised of agricultural producers, many of whom have sons and daughters involved in agriculture, they are highly sensitive and responsive to the needs of young and beginning farmers.

You can find out more about the Farm Credit System at our new website.

October is National Cooperative Month.  This is the last in a series of guest blogs presented this month to highlight cooperatives across the Nation.

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