Why is the Farm Bill so important to rural bankers?

One of the leading points of discussion at this year’s Ag Bankers Conference was the Farm Bill. With 2023 around the corner, the clock is ticking to get it finalized on time.

Leaders there said a large portion of the banking industry is connected to rural America, and when major policy changes are made, it affects farmer cash flow. That is why they pay close attention to how decisions are made when it comes to that bill.

One of the bigger items the banking industry is advocating for is crop insurance.

“That’s where you see the FSA guaranteed loan programs, and a lot of our lenders participate in the guaranteed loan programs because it’s a way to either get beginning farmers in and have them be able to acquire some credit they might not otherwise be able to acquire. You might get somebody who has a dip in their operation and they need to use the programs. That’s a way to carry them through and make sure that they’re still in a good place. So we’re big supporters of the guaranteed loan programs. We haven’t picked a number yet, but we do believe the programs need to get bigger. The lending limit is about $1.88 million, and we’d like to see that get over the $2 million mark, partly because farms are getting bigger,” said Ed Elfmann.

Elfmann says another big focus surrounds rural development programs, which can help on the farm and in the community.