Hoeven Leads Bicameral Effort Supporting Access to Credit for Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week led a bicameral effort pressing the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to continue supporting agriculture producers’ access to credit. In a letter to NCUA Chairman Todd Harper, Hoeven and his colleagues questioned language included in the NCUA’s Draft Strategic Plan that could lead to regulatory discrimination against credit unions that lend to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses in the name of addressing “climate-related financial risks.” Hoeven led the effort because regulators should be working to ensure that credit-worthy businesses receive the banking services they need as opposed to misusing financial regulation to further certain environmental and social policies.

Accordingly, the members of Congress are urging Harper to remove this language from the strategic plan and not impose burdensome new regulations on credit unions that are supporting farmers, ranchers, agri-businesses and rural communities. 

“American farmers, ranchers and producers across the country work tirelessly to grow the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world,” the members of Congress wrote. “We are concerned that recent actions and statements by the NCUA could lead to the establishment of a regulatory environment that threatens the ability of farmers, ranchers, agri-businesses and rural communities to access credit… Placing increased regulations on those that serve the agricultural industry will threaten to restrict access to credit in rural communities, which could have serious consequences for an industry that is already facing high inflation and increased input costs.”

“North Dakota’s 34 credit unions currently hold more than $748 million in agricultural loans,” said Jeff Olson, President/CEO of Dakota Credit Union Association. “North Dakota’s farmers are the answer to climate change, not a problem to be overcome. Our farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists and implement practices every day that enhance climate resiliency; this is something that our federal regulatory agency does not fully understand or simply refuses to acknowledge. Our credit unions have been supporting and advancing our rural economies for more than eighty years – and credit unions here and across the country should not be penalized for it. We need to continue to make investments in our farm and ranch producers; not divest them.”

In addition to Hoeven, the letter was signed by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), as well as Representatives Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.). The full text of the letter can be found here.