Hoeven Presses USDA to Replenish FSA Loan Programs to Ensure Farmers and Ranchers Have Access to Credit

Senator Working to Support Producers Challenged by Low Commodity Prices

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Agriculture and Agriculture Appropriations Committees, requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) replenish Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan programs to ensure that the nation’s producers have access to necessary credit during the current period of low commodity prices.

Farmers across the nation experiencing cash flow issues are increasingly turning to the FSA Loan Program for assistance. The increased need for these programs has resulted in insufficient loan authority to meet accelerating demand. According to the most recent publicly available data from the FSA for Fiscal Year 2016, the vast majority of the loan authority for the Direct Operating Loan Program has been depleted, and the entire amount of loan authority for the Guaranteed Operating Loan Program has been exhausted.

Hoeven wrote to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to request that the agency use its existing authority to reprogram funding to the loan programs.

“With low commodity prices, our farmers and ranchers are facing real challenges,” said Hoeven. “It’s very important that we have credit available for them. That’s why I’m pushing USDA to transfer money to the FSA loan guarantee and direct loan programs to make sure our producers have access to credit when they need it.”

Stable producers in North Dakota and across the nation are running out of the working capital they need to operate. As a result, there has been high utilization of the FSA loan programs and there are indications that demand for FSA loan programs is only going to increase in the next fiscal year.

“As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, I urge you to take into consideration how important these FSA loan programs are for many producers’ ability to maintain their farming operations and utilize your reprogramming authority to increase loan program authority levels for the FSA Loan Programs,” Hoeven wrote.