February 04, 2014

Farm bill to be enacted, impacts CUs

There a few items and programs of interest to credit unions in the $956 billion farm bill that is on its way to the president's desk, including improvements to crop insurance and a pilot program for microloans for farmers.

After three years of negotiating, the "Agricultural Act of 2014" was passed by the Senate Tuesday with a vote of 68-32. It cleared the House Jan. 29 with a vote of 251-166.

Of note to credit unions in the five-year bill:

  • A pilot program is to be established by the Department of Agriculture with Community Development Financial Institutions Fund for microloans of up to $50,000 for farmers.
  • The removal of term limits on USDA guaranteed operating loans – these guaranteed portions of loans don't count toward credit unions' member business lending cap.
  • An improvement to crop insurance, which assists farmers as well as credit unions that support them.