Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find answers to some of the questions most often asked about the Funding Corporation and the Farm Credit system as a whole. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, please feel free to contact us.
What is the Farm Credit System?
The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions and specialized service organizations. Established by Congress in 1916 as the authority for certain predecessor entities, the System is the oldest of the Government-sponsored enterprises. Throughout its long history, the fundamental purpose of the System has remained the same: To provide American agriculture with sound and dependable credit at competitive interest rates. Currently, there are three Farm Credit Banks and one Agricultural Credit Bank providing funds and support services to 67 locally owned Farm Credit Associations and numerous cooperatives nationwide. Approximately 43 percent of all U.S. farm business debt is funded by the Farm Credit System. (Source: USDA Economic Research Service, February 2021).
What is the Funding Corporation?
The System Banks utilize a fiscal agent, the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation, to issue, market, and handle the Farm Credit Debt Securities. The Funding Corporation, established by Congress and owned by the System Banks, is located in the greater New York City area. The Funding Corporation currently utilizes a selling group of 38 banks and securities dealers that may offer Farm Credit Debt Securities. The Funding Corporation selling group distributes these Farm Credit Debt Securities on a worldwide basis to all types of investors, including commercial banks, states, municipalities, pension and money-market funds, insurance companies, investment advisers, corporations, foreign banks and governments, and other investors. The Funding Corporation is responsible for establishing, subject to Farm Credit Administration approval, the amounts, maturities, rates of interest, terms, and conditions of participation by the System Banks in each issue of Farm Credit Debt Securities. The conditions of participation by the System Banks in each issue of Farm Credit Debt Securities are prescribed in an agreement between the Funding Corporation and the System Banks. The Funding Corporation also provides the Banks consulting, accounting and financial reporting services. As the System's financial spokesperson, the Funding Corporation is responsible for financial disclosure and the release of public information concerning the financial condition and performance of the System as a whole.
What is Farmer Mac?
As provided in the Farm Credit Act, the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac) was established to attract new capital for the financing of agricultural real estate and to provide liquidity to agricultural lenders. The board of directors of Farmer Mac has 15 members, five of whom are elected from the System. Farmer Mac is regulated by the Farm Credit Administration and is designated by statute as a System entity. However, the accounts of Farmer Mac are not included in the combined financial statements of the System. Farmer Mac is not liable for any debt or obligation of any other System institution, and no System institution other than Farmer Mac is liable for any debt or obligation of Farmer Mac.
What is the credit rating of the Farm Credit Debt Securities?
Moody's Investors Service has assigned a rating of Aaa with a stable outlook to the long-term debt of the System and a rating of P-1 to the short-term debt of the System. Standard & Poor's Ratings Service has assigned a rating of AA+ with a stable outlook to the long-term debt of the System and a rating of A-1+ to the short-term debt of the System. Fitch Ratings has assigned a rating of AAA to the long-term debt of the System with a stable outlook and F1+ to the short-term debt of the System. The Funding Corporation understands a number of factors contributed to these ratings, including: the Farm Credit System's status as a Government-sponsored enterprise, which results from its public mission and ties to the federal government; the traditionally strong governmental support of the agricultural sector; and the System's strong financial performance in recent years, including favorable earnings and strong capital ratios.
Who are the System Banks?
What is the Insurance Fund?
The System has an insurance fund to insure the timely payment of principal and interest on Farm Credit Debt Securities, to the extent funds are available. Also, the provisions of the Farm Credit Act providing for joint and several liability of the System Banks cannot be invoked until the amounts in the Farm Credit Insurance Fund have been exhausted. However, because of other mandatory and permissive uses of the Insurance Fund specified in the Farm Credit Act, there is no assurance that there will be sufficient funds available in the Insurance Fund.
The Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation administers the Insurance Fund. The Insurance Corporation is a Government-controlled corporation that was established in the late 1980s. The Insurance Corporation is administered by a board of directors consisting of the Farm Credit Administration Board.
To achieve or maintain the Insurance Fund at the statutorily defined "secure base amount" of 2% of aggregate insured debt obligations (or such other percentage as the Insurance Corporation determines is actuarially sound), the Insurance Corporation has the authority to assess premiums on the System Banks. When the amount of the Insurance Fund exceeds the secure base amount, the Insurance Corporation is required to reduce the premiums, but it must ensure that reduced premiums are sufficient to maintain the level of the Insurance Fund at the secure base amount.
What types of Farm Credit Debt Securities does the System issue?
The System, unlike commercial banks and other depository institutions, obtains funds for its lending operations primarily from the sale of Farm Credit Debt Securities. The System Banks, through the Funding Corporation, currently offer the following types of Farm Credit Debt Securities:
For a discussion of various risks, tax and other considerations, as well as terms and conditions related to each of these types of Farm Credit Debt Securities, review the appropriate offering circular.
Does the U.S. Government guarantee Farm Credit Debt Securities?
No. Farm Credit Debt Securities are the general unsecured joint and several obligations of the System Banks only. In the event of a default by a System Bank on an insured debt obligation for which that System Bank is primarily liable, the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation must expend amounts in the Farm Credit Insurance Fund to the extent necessary to insure the timely payment of principal of and interest on the debt obligation. The provisions of the Farm Credit Act providing for joint and several liability of the System Banks on the debt obligation cannot be invoked until the amounts in the Insurance Fund have been exhausted.
However, because of other mandatory and permissive uses of the Insurance Fund specified in the Farm Credit Act, there is no assurance that there will be sufficient funds available in the Insurance Fund.
Where can I buy Federal Farm Credit Banks Consolidated Systemwide Debt Securities?
Most major banks and securities dealers have access to Farm Credit Debt Securities, which are sold in primary and secondary capital markets globally. The Funding Corporation works directly with certain banks and securities dealers including minority, women, disabled, and veteran owned firms to issue Farm Credit Debt Securities.
Where can I find the status of my Farm Credit bonds and notes?
Information on the status of specific securities can be found using our Debt Securities Search.
What is the tax status of the Farm Credit Debt Securities?
Under the Farm Credit Act, Farm Credit Debt Securities and the interest thereon are exempt from state, local and municipal income taxes. Provisions of several statutes that are analogous to the relevant tax exemption provisions of the Farm Credit Act have been construed by certain state courts as not exempting securities similar to the Farm Credit Debt Securities or interest thereon from nondiscriminatory franchise taxes or other nonproperty taxes imposed on corporations. Interest on the Farm Credit Debt Securities is not exempt from federal income taxation. In addition, gain from the sale or disposition of Farm Credit Debt Securities or their transfer by inheritance, gift, or other means is not exempt from federal taxation, and generally is not exempt from state, local or municipal taxation. Additional information regarding the tax consequences of purchasing, holding and disposing of the Farm Credit Debt Securities is contained in the applicable offering circular. Holders and persons considering the purchase of the Farm Credit Debt Securities should consult with their own tax advisors regarding the tax consequences of holding Farm Credit Debt Securities in their particular situation.