Opposition to the proposed foreign ownership of Farm Credit Services of America is spreading among farmers in Iowa, the largest of four states served by the Omaha-based farm lending cooperative.
Rabobank, a Dutch banking giant, announced on July 30 it will pay $1.4 billion for the cooperative.
Neil Harl, an Iowa State University agricultural economist and lawyer, said the deal has touched off a flood of phone calls from farmers expressing their anger, frustration and opposition to the sale.
The transaction would include $600 million that would go to the borrowers who own the Omaha cooperative and an additional $800 million "exit fee" that would be paid to the federal government if the deal goes through and the Omaha lender pulls out of the government's farm credit system.
More than 40 percent of Farm Credit Services' loans are to Iowa borrowers.
Merlyn Groot, a farmer from Manson and former director of Farm Credit Services, said he has had about a dozen phone calls from farmers who have loans with the Omaha lender. Groot said he hasn't been able to find out much about the proposed sale, even though he was member of the board of directors from 1990 through last December.