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News ReleaseFarm Credit Administration
1501 Farm Credit Drive
McLean, Virginia 22102-5090


For Immediate Release
NR 08-08 (06-12-06)
Contact: Martha Schober or Christine Quinn, 703-883-4056
E-mail: info-line@fca.gov
Web site: www.fca.gov
FCS Lending to Young, Beginning, and Small Farmers Remains Solid

McLEAN, Va., June 12, 2008 — The Farm Credit Administration (FCA or Agency) Board today received a report on the 2007 performance of the Farm Credit System (FCS or System) in meeting its congressional mandate to provide constructive credit and related services to young, beginning and small (YBS) farmers and ranchers. YBS lending and reporting are a special focus area established for the FCS and FCA by the Farm Credit Act of 1971, as amended.

In calendar year 2007, the overall trends for lending for each of the three borrower categories (young, beginning, and small) continued to be positive with loans made during the year and year-end loans outstanding showing gains from 2006 levels.

“These results show that System institutions are making important strides in fulfilling their mission to provide credit to young, beginning, and small farmers, and this is important to the future of farming in our country,” said Leland A. Strom, the newly appointed FCA Board Chairman and CEO.

The number of new loans made during 2007 to young farmers (i.e., those aged 35 and younger) was 50,550, 8.8 percent higher than in 2006, and the dollar volume of new loans was $6.3 billion, 14.7 percent higher than in 2006.

Beginning farmers (i.e., those with 10 years or fewer of farming experience) received 64,178 System loans during 2007, an increase of 11.0 percent over 2006. The dollar volume of new loans to beginning farmers in 2007 was $10.4 billion, an increase of 12.1 percent over 2006.

The number of new loans made during 2007 to small farmers (i.e., those with gross annual sales of less than $250,000) was 155,154, a 4.8 percent increase from 2006. The new loan dollar volume was $13.0 billion, representing an annual increase of 12.3 percent.

Since 2001, when FCA instituted new YBS definitions and reporting requirements, the dollar volume of new loans made as well as the dollar volume of loans outstanding have increased for all three YBS categories. Also, the dollar volumes of loans made for beginning farmers as a percentage of the total volume of System association loans made has generally been increasing since 2001; however, the percentage for young and small farmers has declined over three of the past four years.

The year-to-year variations in the YBS percentages are largely the result of the System’s strong lending activity. The volume of System association loans made and outstanding have been growing in double digits the past few years. This made it difficult for YBS lending measured as a percentage of System association volume made or outstanding to keep growing. However, the trends also reflect some demographic factors in the lending market, such as the declining number of young farmers and the movement of some producers out of the “small” lending category, simply as a result of higher commodity prices.

To assist YBS producers, many System institutions use special underwriting standards, lower interest rates, and other programs aimed at YBS borrowers. Through various types of regulatory guidance, FCA encourages the System to continue to find ways to support the needs of YBS producers for credit and other related services.

For a more detailed discussion of the System’s YBS activity, see “Serving Young, Beginning, and Small Farmers and Ranchers” in the 2007 FCA Annual Report on the Farm Credit System, which will soon be available on the FCA Web site. Also see the YBS page on the FCA Web site.

Regulatory Burden Notice of Intent

FCA continues to review its regulations to eliminate those that are inefficient or burdensome. To help it do so more effectively, it has issued a Notice of Intent to solicit input from the public regarding the appropriateness of the requirements it places on the FCS.

The Agency seeks to identify regulations that may duplicate other requirements, are not effective in achieving their stated objectives, are not based on law, or impose burdens greater than the benefits received.

The following regulations are targeted in this notice: Assessment and Apportionment of Administrative Expenses (Part 607); Loan Policies and Operations (Part 614); Leasing (Part 616); Borrower Rights (Part 617); General Provisions (Part 618); and Nondiscrimination in Lending (Part 626).

The public comment period is open for 60 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register. Comments may be sent by e-mail to reg-comm@fca.gov, through the Pending Regulations section of FCA’s Web site, or through the Federal Government Web portal at www.regulations.gov.

Comments also may be sent by mail to Gary K. Van Meter, Office of Regulatory Policy, Farm Credit Administration, 1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, Virginia 22102-5090, or by fax to 703-883-4477. The public may read submitted comments at the FCA office in McLean, Virginia, or on FCA’s Web site at www.fca.gov.

In other business, the Board received a quarterly report from the Farm Credit System Building Association, which maintains FCA’s facilities and provides related services.

Notational Vote

Since the May 8 FCA Board meeting, one notational vote has occurred. Notational votes are actions taken by the FCA Board between Board meetings. On May 23, the Board concluded that no regulatory action currently in the FCA Unified Regulatory Agenda meets the definition of a “significant regulatory action” as defined by executive order 12866; therefore, the Agency is not required to submit a regulatory plan to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
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The Farm Credit Administration is the safety and soundness regulator of the cooperative Farm Credit System. FCA charters, regulates, and examines the 106 banks, associations, and service corporations of the System. System institutions make loans to agricultural producers and their cooperatives nationwide. Members of the FCA Board are Leland A. Strom, Chairman and CEO, Nancy C. Pellett, and Dallas P. Tonsager.

Note: FCA news releases are available on the Internet at www.fca.gov.