About Farm Credit
The Farm Credit System
Established by Congress in 1916, Farm Credit is one of the nation’s oldest financial institutions created to provide a dependable source of financing and financial services for agricultural purposes and rural housing. Farm Credit is an equal credit opportunity lender and an equal housing lender.
Our members, the same people who borrow from Farm Credit, own us. As a stockholder, you elect the board of directors that govern your lending institution.
We obtain funds from the sale of bonds and notes in the national money market. Loans and financial services are made through our nationwide network of local lending institutions.
The funds to finance Farm Credit loans come from the sale of System securities in the nation’s money markets. The size and strength of the System, coupled with its federal charter, make it possible for System institutions to obtain funds at favorable rates.
Farm Credit securities are sold to investors in the form of Systemwide bonds and discount notes and are the joint and several obligations of all System banks. Investors include commercial banks, thrifts, governments, investment funds, and individuals.
The Farm Credit System is one of six Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) created by Congress. GSEs are privately owned corporations that help finance important sectors of the nation’s economy. Farm Credit’s charter is to serve agriculture and rural America.
A Range of Services
Farmers, Ranchers, Agribusinesses, and Rural Home Buyers A variety of Farm Credit institutions make loans to farmers, ranchers, co-ops, and agribusinesses.
As part of the Farm Credit System, Associations operate under a variety of trade names, including Production Credit Association (PCA), Federal Land Credit Association (FLCA), Farm Credit Services (FCS), and Agricultural Credit Association (ACA).
Production Credit Associations (PCAs) provide short- and intermediate-term loans for various purposes, such as operating expenses, farm equipment, livestock, farm buildings, and other capital improvements. These loans normally have maturities less than seven years.
Federal Land Credit Associations (FLCAs) provide long-term real estate and rural home mortgages, and also refinance existing mortgages and other debts.
Farm Credit Services (FCS) is jointly managed PCA and FLCA offices offering short- and intermediate-term loans and long-term real estate loans.
Agricultural Credit Associations (ACAs) have been formed in around the country through the merger of PCAs and FLCAs, and offer both short- and long-term loans.
Farm Credit borrowers have long enjoyed the benefits of doing business with local Farm Credit offices, where people know their business, their community, and their market.
At the same time, Farm Credit borrowers enjoy the financial strength and stability of a nationwide System with assets of approximately $90 billion.
Unlike commercial banks, Farm Credit institutions do not take deposits. Instead, money is raised by selling Systemwide bonds on Wall Street. The proceeds are then channeled through Farm Credit Associations to agricultural producers and cooperatives.
Safety & Soundness
Associations of the Farm Credit System were established under federal charters to provide sound and constructive credit to farmers, ranchers, agricultural cooperatives and farm-related businesses.
To assure that this mandate is carried out under the law, the System is subject to rigorous regulation by the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), an independent regulatory agency of the federal government. The FCA requires all Farm Credit institutions to meet risk-based permanent capital standards.
In addition, the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation (FCSIC) was created in 1987 to stand behind Farm Credit institutions. The FCSIC Insurance Fund, which is financed by the System, is there to ensure payment to holders of System securities in the event of future economic stress.
The Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation manages the sale of System securities and provides financial and advisory services.
The Farm Credit Council is the System’s trade association offering a wide range of business services and represents System interests before Congress and the federal government.
Borrowers are Owners
The Farm Credit System is the only major agricultural lender that is owned by its borrowers.
This cooperative structure helps assure that reasonably priced credit will be available during good times and bad. Farm Credit System borrowers make a small stock investment in the Association before obtaining financial services.
Voting stockholders have the right to participate in elections and have a voice in their Farm Credit institution. A board of directors elected by the institution’s stockholders governs every Association.