Financial credit bill would put fishermen on equal footing with farmers

Legislation introduced by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Angus King, I-Maine, aims to expand financial resources for rural fishing communities. It will allow businesses offering assistance to the fishing industry to access the same Farm Credit System loans available to farmers, ranchers and loggers.

“The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act, introduced on June 1, is a straightforward, common-sense amendment to the Farm Credit Act of 1971 ensuring businesses that support Alaska’s fishing industry, our ranchers of the sea, have the same financing opportunities as businesses supporting our land-based farmers and ranchers,” Murkowski said.

“The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act would allow fishing-support businesses to access the loans of the Farm Credit System like similar small businesses working with livestock and crop farmers,” King said. “These reliable loans are huge economic drivers for rural communities, helping businesses invest in new expansions, hire more workers, or modernize operations.”

Farm Credit Council President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Van Hoose thanked King and Murkowski for introducing the legislation.

“Businesses providing services directly to the commercial fishing operators are also impacted by the same pressures as the U.S. domestic fishing industry,” Van Hoose said. “These fishing-related businesses need access to competitive financing to maintain service to the U.S. fishing industry.”

Since the Farm Credit System, which is a network of lending institutions, was founded by Congress in 1916, it has provided nearly one million loans totaling over $373 billion to farmers, ranchers, fishermen, aquatic producers, and others.