An Oklahoma farmer is urging the state to extend the $1.6 billion farm bank guarantee until 2019 as he tries to get the bank’s loan program renewed.
The farm bank is the only government-backed program in the country that provides loans for farmers to buy and sell their crops.
A federal loan guarantee program has been in place since the Great Depression, but it was only in the past decade that farmers began to take advantage of it.
But this year’s extension would give Oklahoma more than $1 billion in new funds for the program.
So far, about $3 billion has been spent on the program, with more than 1,000 farmers receiving loans from the state.
The farm bank program has received $8.7 billion in federal funding since it was first created in 1921.
“We have to give it another year or two to see if we can find a way to make it work,” said Julie Gifford, a member of the Corn Belt Committee for Agriculture, who is also the head of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
“It would be wonderful if we could get it renewed.”
Gifford says she is optimistic that the farm bank could be renewed and says the farm bureau is still hopeful that it will be.
The Farm Bureau says that it has received a loan guarantee from the U.S. Treasury from the National Agricultural Bank in Oklahoma, but is waiting to hear back from the government agency.
Giffords spokeswoman Megan Buechler says the bank is still waiting for a response from the Treasury.
Giffords office in Oklahoma has said that it was not aware of any pending applications for extensions for the farm loan guarantee, and she said that the state should have an answer soon.
“We are very concerned that the Treasury is not yet fully engaged,” she said.
Gail Pyle, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, says that the extension request is disappointing and that the government is still reviewing the loan guarantee.
“The extension of the Farm Bank is an important tool in helping Oklahoma farmers to stay in business,” she says.
“However, we remain hopeful that the Farm Bureau will continue to work with us to ensure that this program continues to work for farmers in the years to come.”
She says the extension could mean that Oklahoma will be one of only four states that does not have a federal loan program for agriculture.