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Chairman David Scott Opening Statement at Hearing “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The State of Credit for Young, Beginning, and Underserved Producers”

WASHINGTON House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott delivered the following statement at today's hearing “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The State of Credit for Young, Beginning, and Underserved Producers.”

[As prepared for delivery]

Good Morning, I’m grateful to be here today to hold another full Committee hearing to review the credit title of the 2018 farm bill with a focus on our young, beginning, and underserved farmers and ranchers.

I am also excited for the opportunity to continue to work with my colleague, Ranking Member Thompson of Pennsylvania, who shares an interest in this area.

Our young, beginning and underserved producers face difficulties in obtaining credit that our more seasoned and established producers may not encounter.

Historically, these groups of producers tend to have financial positions that are less desirable to lenders. Their financial position may be linked to a very limited production history that has not allowed for much equity to be gained in their operations or the smaller scale of production that they are engaged in, among other factors.

It should be noted that the average age of our farmers and ranchers in this country is approaching 60 years of age. We must ensure that the next generation of men and women who take the place of those retiring from this grand occupation have the tools necessary to continue to produce the food and fiber that we rely on for our existence.

Credit is one of those tools that we must make readily available to all our producers especially the young, beginning, and underserved.

Access to capital, but even more so, access to credit, is a pillar to establishing a successful agricultural operation. Farming and ranching are not an exact science thus there are many ebbs and flows. Capital is needed throughout various times before, during, and after the growing season.

Credit access and availability is vitally important to keep a farming operation afloat. A well drafted and realistic farm business plan that displays positive cash flow is required to obtain sufficient credit, whether it be from Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Farm Credit System (FCS), commercial bankers or any other financial entity.

The FSA, Farm Credit System, and commercial bankers account for over 80% of the total outstanding farm loan debt and we want to ensure that these loan programs are meeting the needs of all our farmers and ranchers.

Today, we have a broad range of witnesses before us who will discuss credit. I am eager to learn how changes enacted in the 2018 Farm Bill have affected our producers and how we can improve these programs through effective policy decisions.

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