President Theodore Roosevelt planted the seeds of the Farm Credit System in 1908, when he appointed a Country Life Commission to address the problems facing a predominantly rural population. The commission documented a lack of adequate agricultural credit, where a farmer could readily secure loans on fair terms. Its findings led to additional government studies, which included extensive analysis of other nations' rural credit systems. Lawmakers chose a cooperative credit structure based on 12 Federal Land Banks, using $125 million in government seed money but financed by private capital from investors.
President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Farm Loan Act on July 17, creating the 12 Federal Land Banks (FLBs), which focused on real estate lending.
Twelve Federal Intermediate Credit Banks (FICBs) were established to provide lending to production agriculture.
The Farm Credit Act of 1933 authorized local Production Credit Associations (PCAs) to be retail lenders and fund through the FICBs, expanding short- and intermediate-term agricultural credit availability. In addition, 12 Banks for Cooperatives (BFCs) were created to serve in each of the 12 District territories. The Farm Credit Administration was created by executive order.
Farm Credit Act of 1971 updated the
System’s charter and expanded lending authority for leasing, records, taxes, consulting, crop insurance, as well as loans to fishermen and rural homeowners.
Farm Credit System consisted of 37 banks. There were 12 Districts, each with a Federal Land Bank, Federal Intermediate Credit Bank, and a Bank for Cooperatives, in addition to the Central Bank for Cooperatives that was owned by and served the District Banks for Cooperatives.
The Farm Credit Act of 1987 authorized and directed the merger of the FICB and FLB in each of the 12 Districts into 12 Farm Credit Banks (serving as wholesale lenders) as part of a financial assistance plan for the System. It also authorized the merger of a PCA with a FLB, forming direct retail lenders called Agricultural Credit Associations (ACAs, or Associations). These Associations are structured as holding companies with two subsidiaries: a Federal Land Credit Association (FLCA) for real estate lending and a PCA for short- and intermediate-term credit.
The Farm Credit Bank of St. Paul took $133 million in financial assistance from the federal government during the rural financial crisis of the 1980s.
The Farm Credit Bank of St. Paul repaid the principal from earlier federal financial assistance, 11 years ahead of schedule.
The Farm Credit Banks of St. Paul and St. Louis elected to be the first FCBs in the System to merge, forming AgriBank and serving a seven-state territory.
AgriBank and Farm Credit Bank of Louisville merged to serve 11 states.
AgriBank and AgAmerica merged, expanding the District’s territory to 15 states.