Holland Sentinel: Gary Peters urges US Senate colleagues to support farm loans
In 2016, farmers that counted on Farm Service Agency loans faced a crisis when funding fell short due to high demand. U.S. Senator Gary Peters is leading a bipartisan effort now to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“Michigan’s farmers — and farmers across our country — feed our country and people around the globe, and we must do what we can to support them,” Peters, D-West Bloomfield, said. “Our agricultural businesses rely on the ability to access the resources they need to keep growing, creating jobs, and contributing to our economy.
Peters was speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday in support of FSA loan programs, which works with lenders to guarantee and deliver loans to small farms.
In June 2016, FSA operating loans faced a significant funding shortfall due to high demand, and hundreds of farmers whose loans had already been approved could not receive the funds they needed until Congress passed emergency appropriations in December 2016. Peters is leading a bipartisan letter urging Congressional appropriators to provide robust funding for Farm Service Agency loan programs in the 2018 budget.
“When a farm has no other options, Farm Service Agency loans and guarantees can help farmers cover urgent operating costs – like feed, seed, and fertilizer – to get them through the season,” Peters said. “Without these loans, farmers could lose their ability to purchase equipment and other necessities for the planting season, and could be forced to curtail their operations.”
Currently, more than 2,300 farms in Michigan have Farm Service Agency loans, totaling over $630 million dollars. Across the country last year, the FSA made and guaranteed a total of 39,650 loans totaling $6.3 billion dollars.
“It is critical that Farm Service Agency funding reflect expected demand for loans, so that small farms can continue to have this crucial lifeline,” Peters said.
Peters added that ensuring the FSA has sufficient funding is even more critical, especially following President Trump’s proposed $4.7 billion dollar cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Like our small businesses, students, and families, America’s farmers deserve to have affordable loan options, and they deserve our attention and support,” he said. “I urge my colleagues to join me in asking for robust Farm Service Agency funding, so we can continue to support our farming communities, as they support and sustain us every day.”
By: Holland Sentinel Staff Reporter
Source: Holland Sentinel
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