What Does the Farmers' Home Administration Mean?

What Does the Farmers' Home Administration Mean?

Formerly known as the Farmers’ Home Administration (FmHA), this government institution used to assist farmers by providing financing for their companies, homes, and other facilities located in rural regions. The United States Department of Agriculture is currently in charge of carrying out these responsibilities.

An explanation of the Farmers’ Home Administration, along with its past

Within the United States Department of Agriculture was a government department known as the Farmers’ Home Administration. As a consequence of Congressional action taken in 1946 to restructure the Farm Security Administration in accordance with the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) Act, it came into being. 

The Family Farmers of America Act was created by Congress with the goal of “fostering and encouraging the family farm system of agriculture in our nation.” In order to accomplish this goal, the organization made available to farmers and ranchers loans that could be used for the purchase of real estate, equipment, and cattle, as well as for yearly operational costs. At one point in time, the Farmer’s Home Administration and the Farm Credit System owned more than forty percent of all agricultural loans in the United States.

Over the course of its existence, the FMHA, however, developed a number of issues. In the 1980s, 40% of FHA borrowers were considered severely delinquent on their loan payments. Meanwhile, the value of many assets, such as land and equipment, has fallen by as much as 20% to 30% in some parts of the country.

After that, Congress issued a directive to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) to carry out an investigation into the FmHA. According to a study that the GAO published in April 1992, it was discovered that as much as 70 percent of the FmHA’s portfolio was in danger owing to borrowers who were in default. This was the case despite the fact that the FMHA had already written down $4.5 billion in debt during 1989–1990.

By September of 1991, the FmHA had completed the purchase of more than 3,100 farms from defaulting debtors. The Government Accountability Office came to the conclusion that a significant number of these issues were caused by the inefficient application of the FHA’s loan servicing criteria. 

On December 8, 2010, President Barack Obama gave his signature of approval to H.R. 4783, the “Claims Resolution Act of 2010,” which included funding for the agreements reached in the Pigford II lawsuit. This agreement is also referred to as the “Black Farmer’s Settlement Agreement.” H.R. 4783 became a law on December 8, 2010. Pigford II is a class action complaint that has been filed against the USDA alleging that the USDA discriminated against African-Americans who sought farm loans or other agricultural benefits between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996. The time period covered by this case is from 1981 to 1996. 

The Functioning of the Farmers’ Home Administration in the Present Day

The Farmer’s Home Administration is currently known as the Office of Rural Development within the USDA. The organization now manages a loan portfolio worth 86 billion dollars, and it plans to handle about 16 billion dollars’ worth of program loans, loan guarantees, and grants through its various programs. 

Home loans via the USDA Rural Development program, such as those for single-family dwellings, are available for borrowers to apply for. If they meet the requirements, they may be able to obtain 100% financing from a USDA-approved lender. Rural Development loans are comparable to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans in that the primary objective of both types of loans is to facilitate the acquisition of homeownership by families with low and moderate incomes. However, in order for borrowers to qualify for a USDA loan, there are certain more stringent conditions that must be met. Take, for instance,

  • The borrower is required to demonstrate that they are capable of repaying the loan, but their income can’t be more than 115 percent of the area’s median income.
  • Potential borrowers need to have a credit score of at least 640 in order to be considered “reliable” by the USDA and to be eligible for automatic approval if they meet the other requirements.
  • The debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of a borrower, which is the amount they spend in comparison to the amount of money they have coming in, should not be more than 41%. 

For the land to be eligible for the program, it must also be in what the USDA calls a rural area. If a person wants to borrow money, they can look at the USDA’s map of eligible properties to see if they are eligible.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a USDA Loan


  • 100% financing is available.
  • Flexible terms
  • Refinancing is open for business.


  • Restrictions based on location
  • Included in the guarantee fee
  • Income limits

The Advantages explained:

There is an option for financing of up to one hundred percent. For instance, the USDA’s Single Family Housing Direct Loan provides financing of up to one hundred percent with no down payment necessary.

9 words that are flexible Both lenders and borrowers are allowed to negotiate any fixed interest rate that is mutually agreeable to one another. However, the terms have to be for thirty years. Refinancing is available: You have the ability to refinance a USDA loan so long as your payments are up to date.

The Drawbacks explained:

Restrictions based on location: In order to qualify, borrowers must first buy a home that the USDA considers to be in a rural area.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) charges an annual guarantee fee for its rural development single-family direct loans, despite the fact that the USDA does not technically require mortgage insurance for these loans. The USDA receives reimbursement for these costs from the authorized lender, which are often rolled into the homeowner’s regular monthly payment on the mortgage. Income limits: Borrowers cannot earn more than 115 percent of the median income in the area where they want to buy a home. This limit applies to the 11th income bracket.

Key Takeaways

  • The Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) was set up in 1946 to give loans to people living in rural areas so they could buy homes, farms, and businesses.
  • It was one of the earliest programs created with the intention of supplying low-cost housing to people who would have a difficult time meeting the requirements for a traditional loan.
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) discovered that up to 70 percent of the FmHA’s loan portfolio was in danger owing to delinquent borrowers when problems started to arise with the agency’s lending program.
  • The Office of Rural Development is what the USDA now calls the Farmer’s Home Administration.
  • Borrowers can take advantage of various perks offered by USDA loans, including financing of up to the full amount and no requirement for a down payment. However, there are financial constraints, location requirements, and fees to consider.

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