Skip to main content

farm credit

Rural America: Moving Forward Through Inspiration and Innovation

Earlier this week, I had the privilege to join members and guests of the Farm Credit Council at their annual meeting in San Diego. It was a great opportunity to see some old friends and make new ones.

But it was also a time for me to continue to share the story of how critically important rural America is to our nation and why we can’t afford to allow rural areas to be left behind in the nation’s forward march to progress.

In meetings before large national farm and business groups, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack often speaks about how agriculture continues to change and innovate. He notes how it has transformed from a two-dimensional approach that used to focus on production and livestock, to a multidimensional approach that now also emphasizes specialty crops and niche market opportunities, exports, developing fuel and energy crops through a bio-based economy, supporting local and regional food systems, and committing to conservation and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Secretary's Column: Growing Opportunity by Expanding Access to Credit

Today, USDA remains focused on working with Congress to secure a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. A comprehensive Farm Bill will allow USDA to carry on our record efforts to support agriculture, conservation, trade, research and rural development efforts – and it will provide needed support and certainty for folks in rural America.

USDA’s credit programs provide a very good example of the positive impact a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would have for our nation.

Through programs authorized under the current Farm Bill, USDA provides access to credit that helps farmers to buy or expand an operation, helps businesses to grow and hire more, helps rural families looking for a good place to live and helps build up rural communities.

2012 Ag Outlook Forum: Agricultural Financial Markets and Investment

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will present 25 breakout sessions, including Agricultural Financial Markets and Investment focusing on patterns of financial investment in U.S. agricultural assets, changes in the types of lenders serving the agriculture sector, and the economics of land prices. Session speakers will be John Blanchfield, Senior Vice President, Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking American Banker’s Association;  Dr. Brent Gloy, Associate Professor and Director of Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University; and John Hays, Senior Vice President–Policy Analysis and Development, Farm Credit Council. These are the topics they will address:   

The Field Guide to the New American Foodshed

The Farm Credit Council, the trade organization for the farmer-owned Farm Credit System, was recently awarded a grant by the Risk Management Agency to produce written and web-based material using case studies to explain how local food systems work in the real world of business and economics, called the “Field Guide to the New American Foodshed.”  With this field guide, beginning farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs will be able to identify different food system business models as they come across them, along with detailed explanations of their business structures and related resources.

Most farm business advisors that are readily available are often very familiar with traditional commodity agriculture.  But many beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) are serving markets that are often found outside of national and international commodity markets.  In addition, many BFR operations are often located near metropolitan areas where there are fewer financial service providers familiar with the workings of an agricultural operation.