The bidding battle for Farm Credit Services of America got more intense last week when Minnesota-based AgStar Financial Services offered $650 million for the ag lender that serves the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and South Dakota.

Rabobank — the Dutch financial organization — previously bid $600 million for FCSA. Stockholders and the Farm Credit Administration must approve any offer for the Omaha, Neb.-based bank.

Politicians, ag organizations and other banking institutions continue to hotly debate the matter.Congressional hearings have been proposed, and ag interests have weighed in on the proposals.

Critics have voiced concern about foreign ownership of ag credit and how, or from whom, ag producers and rural citizens may obtain funds.

Meanwhile proponents insist the move will bring increased credit opportunities to borrowers in the region. And, they hope, shine a critical light on government involvement in the Farm Credit system.

AgStar officials say that their offer gives FCSA membership and officials another option to explore.

The Tribune San Luis Obispo.com ; Feedstuffs