Nancy C. Pellett
Chairman of the Board & CEO, The Farm Credit Administration
Nancy C. Pellett is a long-time agricultural producer. Before assuming the helm at the Farm Credit Administration, she was a member of the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation and a partner in Prairie Hills, Ltd., a feedlot, cow-calf and row-crop farming operation in Atlantic, Iowa. For more than 20 years, she served as president and treasurer of Fredrechsen Farms, Ltd., a family-owned swine and row-crop enterprise. She has served in various leadership positions in the beef industry and is a partner in and former president of Premium Quality Foods, Inc. which markets precooked beef entrees. A native of Walnut, Iowa, she holds a B.S. degree from Iowa State University.
In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt created The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) to address the severe credit crisis afflicting the agriculture sector during the Great Depression. It was designed to be a cooperative — an organization owned, managed and governed by the people that do business with it. Over the past 75 years, the Farm Credit Administration has evolved into the entity that regulates the Farm Credit System which provides direct loans to farmers. While our responsibilities at FCA differ today from our responsibilities in 1933, the ultimate mission is the same: To ensure a safe, sound and dependable source of credit for agriculture and rural America.
The Farm Credit System, which provides loans directly to farmers, is the largest agriculture lender in the U.S., with assets of about $180 billion in 2007. As its regulator, the Farm Credit System has a strong capital base. It is important that FCA take care in its regulation and oversight activities to ensure that the Farm Credit System continues to accomplish its objectives. At FCA we accomplish our mission in two ways. We create regulation for the Farm Credit System institutions to follow and we examine, through audits, Farm Credit System institutions.
Agriculture’s fortunes rise and fall with the cycles in the American economy — and at present most of us in agriculture are optimistic. Cash receipts from grain and soybeans increased 40 percent in 2007. Some projections show a similar increase in 2008. As always, increased commodity prices are quickly reflected by increased rent and land prices. As a result, the major grain exchanges have increased margin requirements and set higher daily trading limits that have required not only more credit but have also required it very quickly.
The increased demand for crops used in food and feed for livestock complicates decisions farmers must make about what to produce as well as their decisions about marketing it. I can’t remember a time when we have had the across-the-board increases in food prices such as those we are currently experiencing. I concur with those who suggest we have had a cheap food policy in the U.S. and consumers have been shielded from sharp price increases. With the prospect that food prices may continue to rise, there are likely to be reactions in the supermarket as well as in farm policy. I believe agriculture is one of the brighter sectors of the U.S. economy.
In an effort to provide wide-ranging views and perspectives regarding the practice of and issues surrounding agriculture, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (PSPA) seeks speakers representing a variety of perspectives. The statements and opinions they present are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent the views of PSPA.