The mission of the Farm Credit System is to be agriculture’s and rural America’s customer-owned partner. Learn more about Farm Credit’s mission of service to agriculture and rural America.
Serving Young, Beginning and Small Farmers and Ranchers
Farm Credit institutions are leading providers of credit to young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. Farm Credit lenders have programs specially focused on meeting the needs of young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers, and Farm Credit lenders annually report their lending activity in these areas to the Farm Credit Administration, the independent federal regulatory agency that oversees the Farm Credit System.
- Learn more about Farm Credit’s service to young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers
- Read the Agrophile blog
- Learn about how Farm Credit works with military veterans
- Fact sheet
Farm Credit’s GSE Status
Although the Farm Credit System shares GSE (Government-Sponsored Enterprise) status with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Farm Credit is a different kind of GSE. The Farm Credit System’s financial strength means that farmers, ranchers, agricultural cooperatives, farm businesses and rural communities continue to have access to a competitive source of credit to meet their needs.
Farm Credit’s Self-Funded Insurance Fund
The Farm Credit System is the only GSE with a self-funded insurance fund. The fund is administered by the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, an independent federal agency. At December 31, 2013, the insurance fund held $3.496 billion – which is available to protect investors in Farm Credit debt securities.
Taxes Paid by Farm Credit
In creating the Farm Credit System, Congress provided tax preferences to Farm Credit cooperatives in order to encourage them to keep long-term mortgages on their own books. This is an important part of Farm Credit’s historic mission of service to U.S. agriculture and rural America. The mortgage interest earned by Farm Credit System institutions is not directly taxed at the federal and state level, but Farm Credit cooperatives otherwise pay taxes like any other business. In 2013, Farm Credit institutions paid more than $221 million in income taxes.
Congress also gave the Farm Credit System limited authority to make loans to “similar entities” – those not otherwise eligible to borrow from a Farm Credit lender, but whose operations are functionally similar to an eligible borrower. Congress established this authority specifically to allow Farm Credit entities to diversify their portfolios and more effectively manage risk for the benefit of its cooperative owners.
Several Farm Credit System institutions hold mineral rights. Most of these were acquired more than 65 years ago and were part of an effort to compensate the System’s cooperative stockholders for losses on properties that went into foreclosure. The Farm Credit System has not retained mineral rights for almost 30 years, but those that remain are a matter of public record and regulatory oversight and they represent the System’s cooperative leadership acting prudently to safeguard the financial health of their institution.
Point-of-Sale Farm Equipment Financing
As a part of fulfilling its mission, some Farm Credit lenders work with equipment dealers to provide credit to farmers at the point of sale of equipment. System institutions are expressly authorized to participate with others, including commercial banks and credit unions, in providing credit. System institutions purchase a participation in the transaction from the dealer. Customers benefit as financing applications are completed online at the dealership in minutes, credit decisions are available immediately, and dealers are able to find the best deal for the customer.
Farm Credit supports the continued robust delivery of the federal crop insurance program as a vital part of the farm safety net. We believe strongly that the private-sector delivery system currently in place for crop insurance is working efficiently and effectively and its overall framework should remain intact.
Every five years, Congress passes a bundle of legislation, commonly called the “Farm Bill” that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. With the 2014 Farm Bill now in place, The Farm Credit Council will be monitoring the implementation process, working closely with lawmakers and federal agencies.
- USDA 2014 Farm Bill portal
- USDA's website tracking progress on Farm Bill implementation
- Text and legislative history of the 2014 Farm Bill
Farm Credit by the Numbers
Number of Loans at Dec. 31, 2015
Farm Credit Customers Nationwide
- $235 billion
Total Loan Volume at Dec. 31, 2015
- $11.8 billion
New Loans to Small Farmers and Ranchers in 2014