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Chairman Scott Opening Statement at Hearing to Review Credit Conditions in Rural America

Washington, November 19, 2019
Chairman Scott Opening Statement at Hearing to Review Credit Conditions in Rural America

WASHINGTON- House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Chairman David Scott of Georgia delivered the following statement at today's subcommittee hearing to review credit conditions in rural America:

[As Prepared for Delivery]

"Good morning and thank you for joining us at today’s hearing to review credit conditions in rural America. With us is Glen Smith, Chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration.

"We have held several hearings across multiple subcommittees that speak to the economic landscape in rural America. All have underscored the same key factors: depressed investment as a result of lower crop prices and reduced demand, land and input prices that haven’t come down accordingly, a tight labor market, and limited access to capital and credit.

"These factors all combine to point to one thing: for all the bluster we hear about “the greatest economy ever,” the facts show that, for far too many Americans in small, rural communities, their economic reality is very different. Whether these folks are farmers or small business owners, they are not experiencing the same chance at success as many of their counterparts in urban and suburban communities.

"It is my hope that through Chairman Smith’s update this morning, we’ll be able to get a bigger and better picture of the rural economic trendlines, so that we can continue a conversation on how best to help those folks from our posts here in Washington.

"Specifically, I want to look today at the credit conditions facing younger farmers as well as smaller,  beginning, and minority operators. As everyone on this committee knows I have taken a keen interest in making sure that we are combating the rising average age of the farmer with all tools available. We must do all we can to ensure that there are young folks to take over when current farmers retire, it is a matter of national security and could evolve into a national crisis if we aren’t careful.

"The Farm Credit Administration is uniquely positioned to keep a finger on the pulse of the rural economy. The Farm Credit System that it oversees comprises nearly 70 local and regional lending entities that serve farmers and small businesses in rural communities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. FCA also oversees Farmer Mac, which serves as a nationwide provider of agricultural credit. This coverage and access means FCA has the ability to see trends in the rural economy in their earliest stages.

"It’s worth pointing out that this is the first time we’ve had the chance to sit down with Chairman Smith since his appointment by President Trump in July, and our first hearing with Farm Credit since the passing of our friend and colleague Dallas Tonsager. We continue to miss his voice and his counsel, and we look forward to continuing his advocacy for folks in small communities across this great country." 
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