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ICBA Statement on Senate Passage of a New Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. (May 15, 2008)—Cynthia L. Blankenship, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West, Irving, Texas, issued the following statement upon passage of the farm bill conference report by the U.S. Senate.

"The Independent Community Bankers of America thanks Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and both Senate and House Agriculture conference committee members for their hard work in passing the Farm Bill. ICBA has supported a strong farm bill to provide farmers and their community bankers a basis for long-term financial planning. The new bill will provide farmers a safety net against the possibility of future low prices and enable customers to repay their bank loans.

"ICBA also commends Congress for excluding provisions that would have diverted the Farm Credit System's focus away from farm lending. ICBA adamantly opposes allowing the Farm Credit System's lenders to become the equivalent of commercial banks while retaining tax and funding advantages as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).

"Getting a final bill enacted has been an intensive process and farmers and their lenders appreciate that the bill is headed towards a successful conclusion."