Washington, D.C. (May 23, 2017)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today said it will urge Congress to ensure needed funding for farm bill, crop insurance and guaranteed Business and Industry loan programs. ICBA noted the president’s budget proposes a challenging level of agriculture-related budget cuts that would threaten farmers and rural communities at a time of increasing financial stress in the farm sector.
“ICBA appreciates the administration’s efforts to rein in spending and put us on a path towards a balanced budget,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “However, the USDA’s projection for net farm income this year is slightly over $62 billion, about one-half of the peak in 2013. Farm bill programs, crop insurance, guaranteed farm loans, Business and Industry loans and other rural development programs all play an important part in ensuring a strong farm safety net.”
Crop insurance and price-support programs are especially helpful for rural communities because they help ensure farmers are able to repay their loans to community banks. Reducing funding for these programs as the nation faces the threat of a farm credit crisis due to producer cash-flow problems is not prudent. Eliminating the guaranteed business-and-industry loan funds while increasing USDA direct spending in other areas in lieu of providing for additional loan guarantees from private-sector community banks is another example of the budget missing the mark.
ICBA is glad administration officials have said they are open to suggestions and looks forward to communicating its concerns and recommendations to Congress and the administration.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 5,800 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.