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Legislators push to secure loan resources for farmers as Greeley bank closure, economy take their toll

New Frontier Bank specialized in agricultural lending


U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, and Congresswoman Betsy Markey, today pushed to secure much-needed loan resources for Colorado's farmers as the closure of New Frontier Bank and the economic crisis have severely limited their access to credit. Greeley area banks and lenders do not have the capacity to meet the demand for credit created by the bank's closure; however, the federal Farm Services Agency has two loan programs that could help local farmers.

In an effort to ensure FSA programs serve as many credit-seeking producers as possible, Bennet, Udall and Markey wrote a personal letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, requesting the agency shift funds from its guaranteed loan program to its direct operating loan program, which has exhausted all of its funds. The move would ensure both programs are available to qualified farmers who need the funds for spring plantings, farmhands and cow feed.

"Northern Colorado farmers are the backbone of the local economy and we must work to protect them from the one-two punch of the economic crisis and the closure of New Frontier bank. These circumstances have left area farmers in a pinch and we need to find them as many credit options as possible," Bennet said. "The Farm Service Agency's credit programs can help farmers stay in business, provide for their families and make it through these tough times. I will continue fighting to make sure farmers have the resources they need."

"These are difficult economic times for all of us, but particularly for Colorado's farmers who are further burdened by sinking milk and commodity prices," Senator Udall said. "The government has rescued banks that were considered 'too big to fail.' I hope the same consideration will be made for Colorado's struggling food producers until normalcy can be restored to the credit markets and farms can again secure the loans they need to continue operating."

"The closure of New Frontier bank could have a profound impact on our agricultural community, as so many of the bank's loans were tied to farms," said Rep. Markey. "Farmers rely on lines of credit to plan their feed, plantings, and hiring. The bank's closure puts all that in jeopardy, and we must ensure that credit remains available in Northern Colorado."

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