Washington, DC –U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12), a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, today introduced the bipartisan Beginning Agriculturist Lifetime Employment (BALE) Act to ensure beginning farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers have access to credit to expand or diversify their operations.

“Access to finance is the lifeblood of any business, but it’s especially important in agriculture,” said Bost. “I’ve heard from farmers and ranchers throughout Southern Illinois who are either just getting off their feet or are trying to grow their business. They tell me all the time that the cost of doing business is growing while their revenue to reinvest in their business and employees is shrinking. My legislation modernizes the Guaranteed and Direct Loan Programs to empower agricultural producers to do what they do best – bring the best food in the world to market.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Direct Loan Program provides direct low interest loans to producers, while the Guaranteed Loan Program allows private lenders to make conservation, operating, and ownership loans with the security of knowing the loans are backed by the USDA. However, the loan programs have not kept pace with the cost of starting and operating an agricultural business. Bost introduced the BALE Act along with U.S.Representative Jim Costa (D-CA) to update Farm Service Agency lending amounts under the USDA to better reflect the current farming and ranching costs.