More than 20 producer groups wrote to members of the House Agriculture Committee last week expressing concerns about the status of the Farm Credit System under a consumer protection bill passed by the House Financial Services Committee.

The Consumer Financial Protection Act, H.R. 3126, passed by the Committee last month, establishes a new federal agency that is given broad authority to oversee the provision of credit and financial services to consumers.

The groups noted that the bill does not name Farm Credit specifically, but would still impact the system's business practices under definitions of such terms as "credit", "consumer financial product", "financial activity" and "financial product or service".

Another bill under consideration by the Financial Services Committee, the Financial Stability Improvement Act, H.R. 3996, would put into place a "wind-down" process for financial institutions that represent a systemic risk to the U.S. economy. That bill also contains no direct references to Farm Credit, but would wrap the system into its jurisdiction through the definitions of key concepts.

Signatories of this week's letter expressed concern that the Agriculture Committee's jurisdiction over Farm Credit was being broached through these bills and other efforts at market reform, and urged Members to reject any attempt to have non-agricultural oversight of the Farm Credit System.

"We ask that you take whatever steps are necessary to keep the Farm Credit System out of larger financial institution reform efforts," the groups wrote. "The possible loss of any of your committee's jurisdiction to other committees — not nearly so familiar with agriculture — would be devastating to our producers."

Source: National Association of Wheat Growers