As Congress ramps up its work on a new Farm Bill, the Independent Community Bankers of America released a white paper with its recommended principles for the new bill. ICBA President and CEO Camden Fine says his association believes a new farm bill is vitally important to the nation’s producers and the independent community bankers who work so closely with them. “A new farm bill provides a multi-year framework for farmers and their community bank lenders to engage in longer-term business planning,” Fine says. “It also offers an essential portfolio of risk-management tools.” The white paper asks Congress to adequately fund commodity programs and crop insurance, both of which are key risk-management tools that enable producers to obtain farm loans. They also are asking Congress to enhance the USDA’s Farm Loan Programs. They provided more than $7.7 billion worth of loans to producers in 2017. The loan programs supported 42,000 farmers and ranchers by increasing loan limits, providing greater flexibility for loan approvals while eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens. Other recommendations included sustaining USDA Rural Development Programs, as well as reforming the Farm Credit System.