CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a national network of cooperatively owned financial service providers dedicated to supporting rural communities and agriculture throughout America and Puerto Rico. Formed in 1916, Farm Credit today includes more than 70 local and regional lending organizations and four regional wholesale banks, of which CoBank is one, and is the single largest provider of debt capital to the U.S. rural economy. As a network of independently operated financial cooperatives pursuing the same mission of supporting rural communities and agriculture, Farm Credit organizations frequently work together to provide the capital needs of larger agribusinesses and infrastructure providers, and at times work together to support community and industry events and organizations.
Farm Credit raises funds by selling debt securities on the nation's money markets through the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation. Farm Credit debt is insured by the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, a self-funded insurance entity. With a AAA-rating, Farm Credit debt enjoys strong demand that results in competitive interest rates on loans for our customer-owners irrespective of financial conditions in the agriculture industry and rural America.
Once the Funding Corporation issues debt securities on behalf of all Farm Credit institutions, CoBank and the other three regional wholesale banks then fund the individual Farm Credit associations who support farmers, ranchers and rural home-buyers. In addition to funding local retail associations, CoBank also uses the proceeds from Farm Credit debt securities to make loans directly to farmer-owned cooperatives, rural infrastructure providers, and other agribusinesses. CoBank serves as a wholesale provider of financing to 22 Farm Credit associations that, in turn, deliver credit to approximately 70,000 farmers and ranchers in 23 states.