As rural America faces another year of expected low farm income, the House Agriculture Committee is reviewing the financial health of the Farm Credit Administration (FCA).
The House Ag Committee is conducting a series of hearings as it prepares to work on the next Farm Bill.
On Wednesday, the FCA faced lawmakers who want to know if the agency is financially sound as farm incomes continue to decline.
“Farm Credit is leaning into this downturn in ag prices,” said James Dodson, chairman of the Farm Credit Bank of Texas. “We expected this cycle would come and we built financial strength to meet it and fulfill the mission this committee has given us.”
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., focused his questions on young farmers. He’s wondering if there’s incentive to roll college debt into farm production loans to help bring young producers back to the farm.
“I don’t think we need to be trying to craft legislation to guarantee a student loan repayment in the condition that we’re in financially, but I do think we need to be proactive in creating the conditions to incentivize young people to come back to the farm,” said Crawford.
The monthly Rural Mainstreet Index from Creighton University shows two-thirds of the rural bankers surveyed expect loan default rates to increase over the next 12 months.