NSAC applauds USDA, Congress for filling farm operating loan gap

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) applauds USDA and the congressional agriculture appropriators who have answered the call of farmers across the country and allocated up to $185 million in additional lending for direct and guaranteed farm operating loans. "Thanks to this reprogramming, nearly 2,000 approved loan applicants will be taken out of limbo and the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) funding shortfall will be filled until the next federal fiscal year resumes on October 1. While these funds will largely wipe out the backlog of borrowers for direct federal loans, a sizeable number of borrowers who are currently working with private lenders but are in need of federal loan guarantees will remain.

"In June 2016, NSAC joined eight national farm and financial organizations in appealing to Congress to take immediate steps to deal with the FSA shortfall and secure much-needed funds for farmers. We are heartened by today’s news from USDA and hope that Congress will continue to support America’s farmers and ranchers by providing additional funding for farm loan programs in the new fiscal year. We can expect to see an increase in demand for these operating loans next year, and there will likely remain some level of backlog, so allocating the appropriate amount of funding in the final omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 will be critical.

"Without operating loans and access to reliable and timely credit, many farmers would be unable to sustain their businesses; those new to the industry would likely be unable to even get their operations off the ground. Congress' responsiveness to this potentially devastating shortfall is a positive sign of their acknowledgement of the importance of credit and operating loans to the future of America’s agricultural economy."

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