The 2017 budget process was finalized Friday. Farm Loan Programs was given a substantial increase in loan funds which should more than carry us through the current fiscal year. This should ensure that we enter the FY 18 year with no funding backlog. This is extremely important with the current agriculture economy. No immediate assistance was provided to allow FSA to hire additional loan officers. This continues to be a concern. The theme that I continually here from our partner organizations is the push for a sizeable increase in our loan limits and ensure adequate funding. The concern that I hear from our members is that our resources are stretched further and further. We have legitimate concerns for the work that is not getting done. The NACS board and FSA management share this concern and discuss this regularly.
We have previously mentioned the start of the Farm Bill debate. NACS, with the help of our legislative consultant, keeps close tabs on the credit aspect of the discussions. Other farm groups and conventional lenders are aware of and share our concerns. They frequently cite our loan limits, adequate funding, AND the need for adequate FSA personnel to carry out our mission. The House recently held a hearing on our credit programs. I encourage you to see for yourself what the private sector says about the need for FSA involvement in the credit sector. To quote Sub-committee Chairman Austin Scott, " As we approach farm bill deliberations, we need to prioritize access to credit. Along with a strong farm safety net-including crop insurance-credit availability is a tool we cannot afford to lose. Modern farming requires modern financing ". You can access the video or the written testimony at: http://agriculture.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=3810
The NACS legislative committee will be in DC this coming week. Meetings have been scheduled with the Committees overseeing Agriculture authorizations, appropriations, and with specific members. Visits with our partner organization will also be held to ensure the proper message is being sent by all parties. NACS continues to tell our story and carry your message.
Thank you to those members that have reached out to me with specific concerns. It helps draft the conversations that will be held this week and beyond.
LeAnn is a Farm Loan Chief from New Mexico. She was elected NACS President at the June 2019 Convention.