Introduction of A Bill to Extend The Farm Credit Act of 1971 to The Fishing industry -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 22, 2004)
HON. FRANK A. LoBIONDO
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2004
Mr. LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, the Farm Credit Act of 1971 allows the Farm Credit Administration to oversee and regulate banks and associations to provide long-term and short-term credit and financial services to farmers, ranchers, producers, and commercial fishermen in all 50 States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In many parts of the country, Farm Credit is an important and significant lender to the farming and commercial fishing industry. Over one-fourth of the total credit used by farmers and fishermen derives from the FCA through a network of Farm Credit Banks, Federal Land Banks, Production Credit Associations, and Banks for Cooperatives.
Under the current law, Farm Credit institutions are also authorized to finance individuals furnishing farm-related services related to their operating needs including custom fertilizers, irrigation installation, and land leveling services. It has been brought to my attention by a local Farm Credit institution in my District that a similar authorization to provide credit and financial services for individuals furnishing services to producers and harvesters of aquatic products does not exist. As a result of this limitation, Farm Credit institutions are not authorized to finance businesses such as boat repair shops, net makers, ice suppliers, or dock operations that provide necessary services for commercial fisherman.
This omission in the Farm Credit Act means that Farm Credit institutions cannot serve the commercial fishing industry in the same manner that they currently serve the farming industry. The Farm Credit Act clearly states that it includes fishermen, but then does not go on to include those who support the industry in the same way it includes those that support the farming industry.
An amendment is needed to the Farm Credit Act to authorize Farm Credit institutions to serve businesses that provide services related to the operating needs of producers and harvesters of aquatic products. This bill would extend the Farm Credit Act to numerous commercial fishing industry providers such as boat repair shops and dock operators that provide the necessary business needs to these fishermen.
I urge my colleagues in the House to support this legislation.