At its monthly meeting, the Farm Credit Administration board received FCA’s 2020 Annual Report on the Farm Credit System’s Young, Beginning, and Small (YBS) Farmer Mission Performance.
FCA defines young farmers as those who are 35 years old or younger, beginning farmers as those who have been farming for 10 years or less, and small farmers as those with gross annual sales of less than $250,000.
Both the dollar volume of the System’s total loans outstanding and the dollar volume of YBS loans outstanding increased in 2020. Total System loan dollar volume outstanding increased by 11.3%, and loan dollar volume outstanding to young farmers increased by 8.0%, to beginning farmers by 12.5%, and to small farmers by 12.9%.
The total number of loans outstanding both for the System as a whole and for YBS borrowers also grew in 2020. The number of total System loans outstanding increased by 3.5%. The number of loans outstanding to young farmers increased by 2.1%, to beginning farmers by 4.1%, and to small farmers by 2.4%.
The dollar volume of loans made in 2020 increased significantly for the System as a whole and even more for the YBS categories. From Dec. 31, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2020, the System’s overall new loan dollar volume increased by 31.6%. New loan dollar volume to young farmers increased by 36.9%, to beginning farmers by 57.4%, and to small farmers by 63.0%.
The number of loans made during the year also increased substantially in 2020 for total System lending and for all YBS categories. The number of total System loans made during the year increased by 37.4%. The number of loans to young farmers increased by 34.0%, to beginning farmers by 40.6%, and to small farmers by 34.9%.
System institutions are required by law and FCA regulation to maintain programs to provide sound and constructive credit and related services to YBS farmers and ranchers. They must report annually to FCA on their YBS lending activity.
“The Farm Credit System has made consistent efforts to serve YBS farmers, but the average age of American farmers has continued to rise,” said FCA Board Chairman and CEO Glen Smith in a statement at the board meeting. “USDA reported in 2017 that the average age of U.S. farm producers was 57.5 years, up 1.2 years from 2012. There obviously is work to be done in continuing to improve and advance the System’s YBS programs. It makes sense from a business development standpoint. It makes sense for the security of American agriculture.”