Farm Service Agency:

Updated Status of the Multibillion-Dollar Farm Loan Portfolio

GAO-01-202: Published: Jan 10, 2001. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 2001.

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The Farm Service Agency (FSA) within the Department of Agriculture provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain commercial credit at reasonable rates and terms. FSA provides direct government-funded loans and repayment guarantees on farm loans made by commercial lenders. During the 1990s, GAO issued a series of reports highlighting the substantial financial risk associated with FSA's farm loan programs and multibillion-dollar portfolio. GAO recently reviewed FSA's farm loan programs to determine the outstanding principal owed on direct and guaranteed farm loans at the end of fiscal year 2000 and the losses incurred by FSA on direct and guaranteed farm loans in the same year. GAO found that FSA had more than $16.6 billion in outstanding farm loans as of September 2000. Farm loan losses incurred by FSA during fiscal year 2000 totalled about $486 million. Both figures represent a significant decrease when compared to figures for earlier years.

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