HeartBeat Fall 2017 - Page 4

DAVE’S VIEW Greetings: In July, several members of the Board and senior staff of FCS Financial joined with others from the Farm Credit System for our annual “Hill Visit” in Washington, D.C. We spent nearly two days preparing for and meeting with each of Missouri’s congressional David Janish, CEO representatives and/or their staff on agriculture related issues. In addition, we had the opportunity to hear from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue and Senator Pat Roberts, both of whom will be key parties in crafting and hopefully passing the next Farm Bill. Our purpose for going to Washington for these visits is to highlight, from our perspective, the key issues, challenges and opportunities for agriculture and rural communities in the state of Missouri and what we believe our elected representatives can do to assist and benefit agriculture. Additionally, we discussed our commitment to serve agriculture and rural communities by providing financing and related services through all agricultural economic cycles. The Farm Credit System’s message on the Farm Bill was relatively concise and clear: We support passage of a strong Farm Bill in 2018 and communicated the following priorities for the Farm Bill: • Continue a strong, viable crop insurance program that meets producer’s needs, is affordable and provides a solid farm safety net. Crop insurance has been a successful public-private partnership that helps maintain the country’s safe, affordable food supply. Given the trend in recent years of lower prices for commodities and declining farmer net income, it is critical for policy makers to maintain a strong farm policy that includes affordable crop insurance. Without the risk protections provided by crop insurance, agricultural lenders would have to tighten underwriting standards, the consequences of which may make it harder for farmers to plant crops and replace capital assets ultimately affecting economic growth for rural communities. • Modernize Farm Service Agency guaranteed loan levels so they reflect the costs of today’s farming operations and help farmers survive the current commodity price 4 HEARTBEAT | FALL 2017 cycle. Despite the downturn in the agricultural economy and decline in U.S. net farm income, Farm Credit institutions are well capitalized and well positioned to assist our customers in navigating this drop in net farm incomes. However, tools like FSA guaranteed loan programs provide Farm Credit institutions additional flexibility to ensure we can work with customers through an extended economic downturn. Unfortunately FSA funding and limits have not kept pace with the increased cost of land, equipment and production. Particularly in the case for young and beginning producers, this increase would help producers enter into agriculture businesses or grow existing operations. • Enhance efforts to rebuild rural infra