The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and 20 other producer groups are concerned about the status of the Farm Credit System under a consumer protection bill passed by the House Financial Services Committee. The groups expressed their concerns in a letter to the House Agriculture Committee.
The Consumer Financial Protection Act, H.R. 3126, passed by the committee this fall, establishes a new federal agency with broad authority to oversee the provision of credit and financial services to consumers. NAWG and other producer groups noted that the bill doesn’t name Farm Credit specifically, but would still impact the system’s business practices under definitions of such terms as “credit,” “consumer financial product,” “financial activity” and “financial product or service.”
Another bill under consideration by the Financial Services Committee, the Financial Stability Improvement Act, H.R. 3996, would put into place a “wind-down” process for financial institutions that represent a systemic risk to the U.S. economy. That bill also contains no direct references to Farm Credit, but would wrap the system into its jurisdiction through the definitions of key concepts, says NAWG.
The producer groups worry that the agriculture committee’s jurisdiction over Farm Credit was being broached through these bills and other efforts at market reform and urged committee members to reject any attempt to have non-agricultural oversight of the Farm Credit System.
“We ask that you take whatever steps are necessary to keep the Farm Credit System out of larger financial institution reform efforts,” the groups say. “The possible loss of any of your committee’s jurisdiction to other committees – not nearly so familiar with agriculture – would be devastating to our producers.”