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United States : Franken, Klobuchar, and Bipartisan Group of Senators Call for Farm Service Agency Loan Funding.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and a bipartisan group of senators have called for Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan funding. FSA loans aim to help small farms that cannot otherwise obtain favorable credit, including beginning farmers, women, and minorities, and other disadvantaged farmers. In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Klobuchar, Franken, and a bipartisan group of 26 senators urged support for robust funding for the FSA's loan programs.

"These loans are cost-efficient and work in tandem with private credit to serve farmers in need," the senators wrote. "Because of these loans, family farmers can get their crops in the ground and continue to serve their customers, even during tough economic times. Without FSA loans, these farmers would lack access to the operating capital that is necessary for any farm business to stay afloat."

The senators continued, "Any cut in FSA loan funding would cause great hardship for our nation's farmers, and hit new, small, and other underserved farmers the hardest. With agricultural economists predicting no end in the near future to depressed commodity prices and the resulting downturn in the overall farm economy, it is all the more important to ensure that our nation's farmers have the capital they need to continue to invest in their businesses."

FSA's loan programs include operating loans, which fund expenses such as livestock, equipment and seed, and ownership loans that help farmers develop land. Recent years have seen increased demand for FSA's loan programs. In June 2016, hundreds of farmers whose loans had already been approved could not receive the funds due to a shortfall in funding for FSA operating loans. As a result, Congress was forced to pass an emergency appropriation in December of 2016 to address the shortfall.

The letter has been endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Farmers Union, Farm Credit Council, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, and Opportunity Finance Network.

In addition to Klobuchar and Franken, the letter was also signed by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:May 10, 2017
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