FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2017
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations advanced its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Agricultural Appropriations Bill, restoring $190 million to the Guaranteed Operating Loan account through an amendment offered by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME). Despite significant financial hardship occurring in the farm economy, the subcommittee-passed draft in June contained $225 million cut to Direct Operating Loans, $566 million cut to Guaranteed Operating Loans, and a $250 million cut to Guaranteed Farm Ownership loans.
In response to the bill’s advancement, NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
“A 50 percent decline in net farm income since 2014 has left the farm economy severely depressed, and farmers and ranchers struggling to cope with low prices. Access to credit remains a critical lifeline to producers, especially credit options offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is baffling that, despite the USDA running out of loan authority last summer, the creation of a significant loan backlog for farmers and ranchers, and Congress’s commitment to prevent that from happening again in FY17, the Committee opted to make drastic cuts to such a critical program. As recently as June, 21 major agricultural and credit organizations wrote a letter to Congress on the importance of this program.
“NFU applauds members of the House Appropriations Committee that stepped forward to support these important programs. We especially appreciate the work of Congresswoman Pingree. Moving forward, attention must shift to ensuring the other guaranteed and direct loan accounts are restored to meet high loan demands.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.