FCA develops regulations (rules) to implement the Farm Credit Act and other relevant laws, to help the Farm Credit System fulfill its public mission, and to ensure that the FCS operates safely and soundly. (View FCA Regulations. For a PDF file of the regulations, see the FCA Handbook.) Like all Federal regulations, FCA regulations have the force and effect of law.
Ordinarily, regulations are enacted according to the following process:
- FCA staff prepares a proposed rule and submits it to the FCA Board.
- If the Board approves it, the proposed rule is sent to Congress for a 30-day review.
- When the review period expires, a notice of proposed rulemaking is then published in the Federal Register, which is the official publication for rules and notices of Federal agencies. This notice explains the proposed rule and invites the public to comment within a specific period (usually between 30 and 90 days).
- The Agency reviews the comments it receives.
- FCA officials then determine whether to (a) adopt the proposed regulation as final, (b) amend the proposed regulation before enacting it as final, or (c) withdraw the rule altogether.
- If the Board approves a final rule, it is published in the Federal Register. Unless FCA prescribes a later effective date, the final rule usually takes effect after 30 days during which either body of Congress is in session. FCA places a notice in the Federal Register to inform the public of the regulation’s effective date.
In a few cases, the Agency may either increase or reduce the steps involved. If FCA seeks to gather input from the public before it makes a specific regulatory proposal, we may hold a public hearing so that members of the public may share their views on a broad issue.
Or, as an alternative, we may publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register in which we solicit public input on a broad issue. Then, on the basis of the input provided during the public hearing or in response to the ANPRM, we may develop a proposed regulation.
In rare instances, we may publish a rule without first soliciting public comment. The Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a Federal agency to enact final rules without comment if it determines that notice and comment are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to public interest.”