GAO Reports Information on Credit and Outreach to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Is Limited

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that information on the amount and types of agricultural credit to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers (SDFR) is limited. Congress directed GAO to study agricultural credit services provided to SDFRs, because minorities and women comprise a disproportionately small share of agricultural producers, and certain minority groups have alleged discrimination in obtaining agricultural credit. GAO identified a number of challenges that reportedly hamper SDFRs’ ability to obtain private agricultural credit. However, GAO noted that comprehensive data on SDFRs’ outstanding agricultural debt are not available because regulations generally prohibit lenders from collecting data on the personal characteristics of applicants for loans.