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don't bank on it

Posted: April 19 2011
Don’t Bank On It  the product of a collaborative effort between Farm Aid, Food & Water Watch, the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) and the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA).
As you know, the past few years presented the country with an economic downturn that strained the financial health of American households and dramatically tightened credit markets. However, the impact of the economic downturn on America’s family farmers has been largely ignored and misunderstood.
After receiving a record number of calls on our 1-800-FARM-AID hotline in 2009, Farm Aid teamed up with Food & Water Watch, NFFC and RAFI-USA to survey farm credit counselors and farm advocates nationwide to better understand the farm credit crisis. The result, Don’t Bank On It, highlights how tight credit markets have negatively impacted family farm agriculture. We know many of you have faced increased demand for your services and hope this report will help you raise awareness and support around the credit needs of family farmers.
Don’t Bank On It was released in conjunction with a report from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) titled Still Waiting for the Farm Boom (also attached). This critical report by researcher Timothy A. Wise shows that, contrary to reports from government officials and the media, most family farmers have done worse during times of high crop prices—seeing diminished farm incomes from increased production expenses, drops in government payments and fewer opportunities for off-farm employment in a struggling rural economy.
Together these reports dispel views of a booming farm sector. The findings call for the attention of policymakers and the urgent need for farm credit reforms. While today’s high crop prices may help a select group of farmers, we must not overlook the hundreds of thousands of farmers who are struggling to make ends meet and secure affordable credit.  We encourage you to utilize the accompanying press release, sample op-ed, and the reports themselves to share with media, government officials, lending institutions and others in your area to shed such much needed light on these issues.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In partnership,
For a downloadable PDF of Don’t Bank On It, please go to www.farmaid.org/credit
To access Still Waiting for the Farm Boom, visit http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/policy_research/FarmIncome.html
red hook, new york