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In 1990-1991, Congress asked Farm Credit to play a greater role in financing agricultural marketing and processing operations, as well as water and sewer loans in rural communities.
In 1992, Farm Credit petitioned Congress to enact legislation allowing Farm Credit to repay in advance, the financial assistance provided in 1987. As a result, the Congress enacted the FCS Safety and Soundness Act. The 1992 law clarified the Farm Credit System's obligation and made provision for full repayment of all the assistance borrowed, including interest. These developments ensured the System would repay all its financial assistance without any cost to the government.
That same year, all System banks met or exceeded the new, seven percent risk-weighted permanent capital standard mandated by FCA, an achievement that came nearly a year ahead of schedule.
The System continued to show strong profits throughout the early 1990s. As a result, the last of the four Farm Credit Banks that received financial assistance due to the 1980s recession redeemed its assistance, almost 10 years before the 15-year assistance bonds were due.
The 1990s also saw a continued trend of consolidation in Farm Credit, as the first Agricultural Credit Bank was formed by the merger of a Farm Credit Bank and two Banks for Cooperatives.
Today, through 78 local Farm Credit associations and four Farm Credit banks, the Farm Credit System provides more than $217 billion in credit and related services to farmers, ranchers, rural home owners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives.
The early 2000s saw examination of the System’s programs for supporting young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. Through this effort, the System’s commitment to YBS is stronger than ever and highly successful.
The 2007 Census of Agriculture showed that about 93 percent of all farms are small and also demonstrated that more than half of all small farms had no farm debt. Farm Credit lenders reported that slightly more than 60 percent of the total number of loans outstanding in association portfolios were held by small farmers.
Taking into account the fact that small farms are less likely to carry debt than larger farms, this figure indicates the strong commitment by the Farm Credit System to serving the credit needs of small producers.