Subcommittee Examines Farm Loan Programs During Audit Hearing

Jul 14, 2011

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit, held a hearing to examine the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency's (FSA) loan programs. The audit hearing was a part of the House Agriculture Committee's ongoing effort to provide oversight of current spending to ensure that programs are being delivered effectively while minimizing waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication. This is the fifth audit hearing in the series.

Farming is capital-intensive, and farmers must often apply for large amounts of credit to enter farming or maintain their existing operations. By providing direct loans or guaranteeing commercial loans, FSA affords farmers who are denied commercial lending access to credit. The audit hearing provided Subcommittee members information regarding what farm loan programs are the most effective for farmers and ranchers.

"In a challenging fiscal environment, the findings of today’s hearing help us prioritize the farm loan programs that are most valuable to America’s farmers and ranchers while making the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars," said Chairman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).

"The information shared today brings us a step closer to understanding and addressing credit concerns for producers in the next farm bill, but there is still more to analyze. The soundness and adequacy of the credit extended to farmers by the FSA and how that affects the affordability and availability of food in urban areas, like Cleveland, is of high priority to me.  It is also important to continue to monitor progress made to ensure minority farmers receive sufficient and unbiased access to credit . It is our responsibility to ensure that both the structure and implementation of FSA programs is fair," said Ranking Member Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).

Written testimony provided by the witness is linked below.

Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. Bruce Nelson, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Accompanied by:

Mr. Jim Radintz, Assistant Deputy Administrator, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.