Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Northwest Farm Credit Services?
Northwest Farm Credit Services (Northwest FCS) is a financial cooperative providing financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, commercial fishermen, timber producers, rural homeowners and crop insurance customers in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Northwest FCS is a member of the Farm Credit System that supports agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services
How is Northwest FCS different from other lenders?
For more than 100 years, Farm Credit has been solely dedicated to helping farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Customers know they can depend on our expertise and commitment in good times and bad. Our cooperative structure is important to customers because it means they have a say in how Northwest FCS does business. Earnings are retained by the association, which returns a portion of those earnings in the form of patronage to customer-members.
Is Northwest FCS a government agency?
No. While the Farm Credit System was created by the government in 1916 and is regulated by the government, we are a cooperative lending institution owned and governed by our customer-members. The Farm Credit System was created to provide a reliable source of credit for farmers, ranchers, timber producers, commercial fisherman, agribusinesses and rural homeowners.
How has Northwest FCS returned value to customers through the Patronage Program?
Because of our strong financial position, Northwest FCS as a cooperative annually returns value to customers through our Patronage Program. For 2019, Northwest FCS returned $145 million in patronage dividends to customer-members. The Northwest FCS Board of Directors has approved a cash patronage return of 1.25 percent of a customer’s eligible average daily loan balance for stockholders in good standing.
How is Northwest FCS helping young and beginning farmers?
Helping young, beginning producers start their own businesses is an integral part of the cooperative mission at Northwest FCS. Our nationally recognized AgVision program is available to young, beginning and small producers who are 35 years or younger, or have 10 years or less agriculture experience, or $350,000 or less in gross, annual farm production. The program features financing options and terms geared to the young, beginning producer who may not be asset-rich. It also offers educational opportunities, business tools and access to staff willing and eager to share their knowledge of business and agriculture.
Does Northwest FCS offer services other than loans to farmers and ranchers?
We believe – and more importantly, our customers believe – that insurance, management education and our other related services are important to business success. Northwest FCS has helped farmers keep going in the face of personal and natural disaster through our insurance programs, and customers know that management education is an essential element of the growth and evolution of their farms and ranches.
What is GSE status?
A Government Sponsored Enterprise, or GSE, refers to a financial service organization created by the U.S. Congress to enhance the flow of credit to targeted sectors of the economy. The Farm Credit System was created in 1916 to provide a stable and reliable source of debt capital for the nation's agriculture system and rural America. Congress initially provided $125 million in seed money for the Farm Credit System but that investment was repaid in 1947, and the System currently operates without any financial support from the federal government.

As a GSE, the System is regulated by the Farm Credit Administration, an independent federal agency. Members of Farm Credit Administration's Board of Directors are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Having GSE status helps the Farm Credit System ensure that rural America has steady access to competitively priced funds that are necessary to finance growth and maintain the quality of life in rural communities and on the farm.
How does Northwest FCS reach out to minorities?
Northwest FCS is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer. We support rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. Our purpose is to improve the lives of customers and employees, the communities where we work and raise our families, and the Northwest agriculture, food and fiber industries that perform a vital role in the United States and around the world. We reach out to anyone who lives in the Northwest and works in agriculture or a related field regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected by federal, state or local law.
Where can I purchase Farm Credit notes and bonds?
The Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation is the agent for the Farm Credit System institutions. Because the System does not accept deposits, the System relies on the Funding Corporation to raise money for loans and leases through the sale of debt securities in the domestic and international money markets. The Funding Corporation partners with a select group of investment and dealer banks that provide underwriting, trading and distribution capabilities. Investors can contact a representative of one of the firms in the Selling Group or their local broker or investment manager for information on purchasing specific Farm Credit securities. Farm Credit securities are generally not issued or sold directly to investors.