History of FCA Governance
FCA was created in 1933 by Executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In its early years, the Agency was headed by a Governor who reported directly to the President. Then, in 1939, President Roosevelt issued an Executive order ending FCA’s independent status and placing the Agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Shortly after this, a bill was introduced that sought to change the structure of the Federal Land Bank System from stock cooperatives to membership cooperatives, with no monetary contribution by the farmer-borrowers. This would have made the FCS another Government lending program “owned” by USDA, not the farmers.
The bill did not pass, but these actions to change the FCS made many farmers and farm organizations determined to achieve an independent FCA led by a Board whose members came from the FCS (although appointed by the President). Their goal was to empower grassroots forces and weaken political influence. Consequently, the Federal Land Banks made a concerted effort to pay off their Government capital. By 1947, they had done just that.
In 1953, 14 years after the Agency had been placed under the control of USDA, Congress passed the Farm Credit Act of 1953, which restored FCA as an independent agency. This legislation created a part-time, 13-member Federal Farm Credit Board with the power to appoint a Governor to administer its policies.
During the agricultural credit crisis of the 1980s, Congress passed the Farm Credit Amendments Act of 1985, which abolished the Federal Farm Credit Board and established the full-time, three-member, presidentially appointed Board structure that FCA has today.