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Nickel, Feenstra Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Access to Capital for Farmers and Rural Communities

Today, U.S. Representatives Wiley Nickel (NC-13) and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) introduced the Access to Credit for our Rural Economy (ACRE) Act of 2023, which would benefit American families, farmers, and rural communities nationwide by giving greater flexibility to more financial institutions to offer affordable lines of credit to rural and agricultural borrowers.

“The ACRE Act will help lower mortgage costs for rural communities and enable farmers in North Carolina to have greater access to credit through community banks,” said Rep. Nickel. “I’m glad to partner with Rep. Feenstra on this common sense, bipartisan solution to give rural communities in North Carolina, Iowa, and throughout the country a fair shot at economic opportunity and success.”

“Over the last few years, rising interest rates and record inflation have increased operating costs for our farmers, stifled young producers from entering agriculture, and prevented families in rural America from securing a home mortgage,” said Rep. Feenstra. “We need to give our main street lenders much-needed flexibility to offer agricultural and home loans at affordable rates to grow our rural communities. I’m proud to work with Rep. Wiley Nickel to ensure that our family farmers have access to the capital they need to remain profitable, and our families have the financial support they need to plant their roots in rural Iowa.”

“Now more than ever, access to affordable credit is vitally important in rural communities in North Carolina and across our country,” said Peter Gwaltney, President and Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Bankers Association. “The North Carolina Bankers Association and our member banks are grateful to Rep. Nickel and Rep. Feenstra for introducing this common sense, bipartisan legislation.”

“We welcome Rep. Nickel and Rep. Feenstra’s introduction of the ACRE Act of 2023, which will lower the cost of credit for rural families across the country,” said Rob Nichols, President and CEO of the American Bankers Association. “By decreasing costs, ACRE will lower interest rates and expand access to loans for rural Americans looking to buy a home or farmland. We urge the House to advance the ACRE Act without delay.”

“ICBA strongly supports the Accessing Credit for our Rural Economy Act (ACRE) to help community banks offer lower rates on mortgages for farm real estate and rural homeowners,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, President and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “ACRE will help borrowers struggling with higher interest rates, especially our young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers and consumers in our small rural communities seeking to buy or refinance homes. Banks will be able to extend benefits to their customers that are already available to other credit providers.”

The ACRE Act would amend IRS code to level the playing field for community banks to administer agricultural real estate loans by granting them tax exempt status on earned interest. This same exemption already applies to farm credit institutions.

This exemption would also apply to single-family home mortgage loans in rural communities with fewer than 2,500 residents and for mortgages less than $750,000.

According to the American Bankers Association, this legislation would expand access to affordable agricultural and home loans to over 4,000 rural communities nationwide and save family farmers and producers well over $400 million in annual interest expenses.