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Source: Farm Credit news release

In 2017, Farm Credit institutions across the country continued their strong commitment to supporting young, beginning and small (YBS) producers, according to data released by the Farm Credit Administration (FCA).

At its monthly board meeting, FCA board members complimented institutions on their collective and individual efforts to educate prospective and current YBS customers through webinars, classes and multi-year programs.

While Farm Credit's overall loan volume grew by 3.1 percent, according to the data, loans outstanding to young farmers (age 35 and younger) grew by 4.8 percent, to beginning farmers (10 or fewer years farming) by 5.3 percent and to small farmers (gross sales less than $250,000) by 2 percent in 2017.

"Farm Credit's young, beginning and small programs continue to deliver strong benefits for prospective and current customers. They focus on helping producers find a path to success through developing business plans, examining balance sheets and other critical steps," said Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose. "Despite the current economic difficulties for farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit remains committed to serving these customers."

Farm Credit Services of America offers one example of those YBS programs. Its Side By Side and Launch conferences have seen continued interest from young and beginning farmers. As Carl Horne, Vice President for Customer Solutions and manager of YBS programs, said, "With all the barriers to entry in commodity farming, we continue to see increased participation in our educational training programs. We have tripled the size of our YBS conferences in order to help more beginning farmers deal with lower margins. Farm Credit is stepping up to help producers develop and maintain a successful operation."

In discussing the qualitative data, FCA noted that Farm Credit institutions have created new lending programs and enhanced the trainings offered for YBS producers.

Please note that the YBS numbers cannot be combined. A single loan to a 25-year-old rancher in her third year of ranching with annual sales of $100,000 could be counted in the young, beginning and small categories. We report this way for two reasons: the Farm Credit Administration requires us to report specifically on YBS activities which, in turn, is reported to Congress and it is the most accurate portrayal of who we serve.

The FCA is an independent federal regulatory agency charged with oversight of the Farm Credit System. It annually reviews Farm Credit's performance on meeting the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers and reports its findings to Congress.

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