Bennet Introduces Legislation to Help Colorado Farmers and Ranchers Retain Access to Farm Credit

Bipartisan Bill Protects Borrowers by Extending Access to FSA Loan Guarantees

Washington, DC - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, this week introduced a bipartisan bill to help ensure that Colorado farmers and ranchers retain access to farm credit at a time when lending has come to a virtual halt.

Bennet's bill extends access to Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan guarantees, which serve farmers and ranchers who are unable to qualify for commercial loans. Often times a farmer's inability to qualify for commercial loans is due to reasons beyond their control, such as sudden market downturns or weather-related disaster.

"During these tough economic times, ensuring Colorado's farmers and ranchers retain access to these loan guarantees is critical," said Bennet. "As farm families across the state gear up for the 2010 crop year, we must do everything we can to make sure they have access to credit when they need it most."

This bill extends the waiver of borrower term limits included in the 2008 Farm Bill by two years to help ensure that farmers continue to have access to guaranteed loans while the economy continues to recover. Without this legislation, the FSA estimates that more than 4,100 farmers and ranchers will become ineligible for loan guarantees at the end of the year, and an additional 2,300 will become ineligible over the next two years.

Bennet is an original cosponsor of this bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.

This legislation is supported by American Bankers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Council, Farmer Mac, Independent Community Bankers of America, Midwest Dairy Coalition, National Association of Credit Specialists of the USDA-Farm Service Agency, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Federation, USA Rice Federation, and Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE).

Last week, Bennet unveiled a working blueprint for helping Colorado small businesses access the credit they need to grow, create new jobs and keep our economy on the road to recovery. To learn more about Bennet's working blueprint to help small businesses, click here.