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What is Farm Credit?

The Farm Credit System is a borrower-owned, permanent system of agricultural credit and rural credit for smaller communities across America. Currently we serve nearly 500,000 qualified member-borrowers nationwide. We provide more than $200 billion in loans, leases and related services to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives. Established in 1916 by Congress, and now a Government Sponsored Enterprise, the System provides more than 40 percent of the credit needed by those who live and work in rural America.

Does Farm Credit serve only farmers and ranchers?

Farm Credit offers loans, leases and financial services to all types of agricultural and aquatic producers, as well as others who help ensure that agriculture and rural America are economically successful. This includes agriculture-related businesses, rural homeowners and real estate owners, and businesses that provide essential services and infrastructure to rural communities, including electric, telecommunications and water services.

As stated in the Farm Credit Act, Farm Credit’s mission is “making credit available to farmers and ranchers and their cooperatives, for rural residences, and to associations and other entities upon which farming operations are dependent, to provide for an adequate and flexible flow of money into rural areas ... to meet current and future rural needs.”

How is Farm Credit different from other lenders?

Unlike investor-owned commercial lending institutions, Farm Credit is a network of borrower-owned financing cooperatives dedicated solely to supporting agriculture and rural communities. These lending institutions are staffed by rural credit experts and governed by boards of directors elected by the co-ops’ customers.

Our cooperative structure is important to customers because it means they have a say in how Farm Credit does business, and they know they can depend on Farm Credit’s expertise and commitment in good times and bad. As cooperatives, Farm Credit institutions are focused on their borrowers’ best interests and often return their earnings to borrower-owners in the form of patronage.

How is Farm Credit funded?

Farm Credit institutions do not take deposits. Instead, Farm Credit raises funds by selling highly rated notes and bonds to investors in the U.S. and around the world, then puts that capital to work in rural America. When customers pay back their loans, Farm Credit repays its investors.

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