- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Your Oct. 24 editorial “Federal pay fable” raised some valid questions on federal pay, but sadly, you got your facts wrong with your reference to the Farm Credit Administration (FCA).

The FCA is not an agency that “offers subsidized credit to agriculture.” It is the independent federal regulatory agency that oversees the institutions of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide, privately owned network of cooperatives that lend money and provide financial services to farmers, ranchers, cooperatives and other farm-related businesses. These entities don’t make subsidized loans, nor do taxpayers pay for the FCA’s budget. It comes, rather, from assessments paid by the entities it regulates. FCA actually has about 287 employees, and their salary and benefits are considerably less than the numbers you cited.

As a farmer, a longtime customer and a cooperative owner of my local Farm Credit lender in Illinois, I want to make sure the record is corrected on this matter. The Farm Credit System serves U.S. agriculture and rural America at no cost to taxpayers. There is plenty of room for criticism directed elsewhere, but you missed the mark on this one.

JOHN R. BLOCK

Former U.S. secretary of agriculture

Washington