FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011
Dear Mr. Van Meter,
I appreciate this chance to comment on ways that the Farm Credit System (FCS) can better serve small and mid-sized, local and regional food producers. It is very important to our nation's food security, job creation, protection of our land and water resources, and in developing a sustainable economy that the FCS loan portfolio be diversified Please incorporate the following list of items to address in FCS marketing plans:
1. A requirement that each FCS institution create a baseline analysis of producers who meet the farm bill definition of local and regional food producers by number of borrowers, by loan volume, and other key characteristics.
2. An investment goal for local and regional food producers of not less than 10% of each institution’s capital within 5 years.
3. A plan for conducting outreach to local and regional food producers.
4. A requirement that such an outreach plan and periodic progress reports be made public.
5. A commitment to adding local and regional food producers to the FCS board.
6. A plan for providing staff development training to FCS personnel across the full spectrum of lending, accounting, farm transfer and business planning services appropriate for serving local and regional food producers.
7. A plan for developing lending and business support products with terms and benefits appropriate for local and regional food producers.
8. An inventory of strengths and weaknesses of financing for local and regional food infrastructure (aggregation, processing, distributing, etc.) and an FCA plan for how to use FCS local and regional food producer financing to leverage other public and private capital necessary to address the larger weaknesses in the rest of the local and regional food supply chain.
Please direct FCS lending associations to be more responsive to the credit needs of small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers producing for local and regional food markets.
The FCS supplies nearly 40% of all U.S. farm financing and has the capacity to provide millions of dollars in capital and technical assistance to local food producers, and to leverage other sources of capital for the task of rebuilding our local and regional food system infrastructure.
Please adopt the new rule that will bring badly needed capital to small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers producing food for the local and regional market.
Susan Lannin 7100 N GREENVIEW AVE Chicago, IL 60626