Opening Statement: Subcommittee Chairman Austin Scott: Focus on the Farm Economy: Tightening Credit Conditions
Opening Statement: Chairman Austin Scott Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee Hearing: Focus on the Farm Economy: Tightening Credit Conditions
Washington, April 19, 2016
Remarks as prepared:
Good morning, and welcome to today’s hearing. This is the second in a series of hearings that each subcommittee is holding on the state of the farm economy.
As we know, the agricultural economy is highly cyclical. Given the recent 56 percent drop in net farm income and the hard times that inevitably come along with that, I believe it is important to hold hearings like the one today to make sure the credit needs of producers are being met and will continue to be met, particularly if current market conditions continue into the future.
While providing credit to America’s farmers and ranchers is vital, it is a growing challenge for many lenders in the United States. Perhaps no one knows this better than lenders in
Meanwhile, farmland values are on a downward trend, and, while some livestock producers are rebounding on the balance sheet with lower feed costs, our western producers are struggling with consecutive years of drought. It is in times like these that our farmers and ranchers are most in need of reliable sources of credit at competitive rates. Thankfully, we have a network of commercial and community banks, USDA loan programs, and the Farm Credit System that each
In order to sustain an abundant supply of food and fiber well into the future, we must ensure that a responsible farm safety net and sound agricultural credit policies are in place now. To that end, I am pleased to welcome a distinguished group of witnesses and look forward to learning more from them about their perspective on current credit conditions and their outlook for credit conditions in rural America.