Farmers and ranchers today face numerous challenges, from the skyrocketing costs of materials to supply chain disruptions to difficulties purchasing rural land — all while interest rates are rising. As a result, many are relying more on credit than ever before. For those who are young, beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers, these obstacles can seem insurmountable — in fact, 69% of young farmers say that access to capital is a top challenge to beginning a career in farming.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution that can help make credit more accessible to these agricultural borrowers: the bipartisan ACRE Act, a bill that ABA is aggressively championing in Congress.
Formerly known as ECORA, this bill would amend the IRS code to level the playing field for banks — especially community banks — by allowing lenders to exclude from gross income any interest they receive on loans that are secured by farm real estate or aquaculture facilities. The bill also allows for the exclusion of interest on certain home mortgage loans in rural communities.
Removing the taxation of interest will bring down the cost of making these loans, making them more affordable for farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners. In fact, ABA estimates that this important legislation could expand access to affordable agricultural and home loans to more than 4,000 rural communities across the U.S. and deliver approximately $1.4 billion in annual interest expense savings to farmers and ranchers in 2023 — savings that can make a crucial difference to the nation’s producers.
This simple, commonsense solution does not require the creation of new government payments or programs — quite the opposite. It provides an avenue for increasing competition and generating growth in rural communities efficiently and organically. It also levels the playing field between all agricultural lenders, which will result in more choices and lower rates for rural borrowers.
ABA has been a vocal proponent of this bill, and we were pleased to see such a significant response from lawmakers in this Congress. The ACRE Act already has 20 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Angus King (I-MN).
Lawmakers now have an opportunity to help sustain and grow rural America by sending this bill to President Biden’s desk. That’s why ABA is urging bankers and their customers to get in touch with their members of Congress and urge them to pass the bill. Bankers can contact their lawmakers easily through ABA’s grassroots platform, SecureAmericanOpportunity.com. The association has also prepared a toolkit, accessible at www.aba.com/ACREtoolkit, that provides an issue backgrounder, talking points and key points that bankers can use when explaining to lawmakers why this law is needed.
Our nation needs a thriving agricultural sector. With your help, we can help remove one of the roadblocks standing in the way of the nation’s farmers and ranchers.
Email Rob at email@example.com.