Jalpa, thanks very much. Good afternoon, everyone and thank you for joining us today. I'm pleased to report that Farmer Mac produced record core earnings this quarter. We did that while expanding our net effective spread, maintaining strong credit quality and further rationalizing our portfolio in ways that are very consistent with our strategic plan. These results largely reflect the continuation of the trends that have developed over the course of the last few years including excellent funding execution in the debt capital markets, disciplined asset liability management and ongoing shift in the composition of our portfolio towards higher spread loan purchase products. We achieved record core earnings of $30 million during the second quarter and net effect of spread above 1% for the first time in a number of years.
Our asset quality metrics remained strong with 90-day delinquencies and substandard asset ratios moving favorably. In other words, moving lower quarter-over-quarter. And we're pleased with the overall performance of the portfolio.
As you've probably read in the news, while the persistent of drought conditions in the certain parts of the American West are causing real pain, real hardship for a number of farmers and ranchers in the America West, particularly in California, we really have not seen any evidence of this in our portfolio.
For loans in areas that commonly experience exceptional drought conditions or do not always have access to underground water as a primary or supplemental source, Farmer Mac's underwriting process provides for the assessment of anticipated long-term water availability for the property and includes analysis of how that impacts the collateral value in the borrowers' cash flow.
While we pay close attention to what is going on in American agriculture and empathize strongly with people who are experiencing drought conditions, we must state emphatically that the overall tone of agricultural real estate market today is very positive. Commodity prices are strong and farm line values are projected to be stable or even slightly higher as we're seeing evidence of that in numerous public auctions and sales. And in fact, a few of them have record high sale prices.
During this last quarter, we provided a gross $1.5 billion of new credit to rural America. This resulted in our expanding business volume exceeding $22 billion at quarter end.
Our success continues to be driven by consistent customer-centric approach, which focuses on providing products and solutions that address funded needs through all agricultural economic cycles and to both our existing and our new markets. Strong loan purchase growth in our Farm & Ranch line of business this quarter was largely attributable to our proactive outreach to our customers. Farm & Ranch long-term standby purchase commitment product also exhibited some growth, a reversal from prior quarters. Regional Farm Credit System associations growth within our core sectors resulted in lenders exceeding commodity concentration limits and we're acquiring additional need for capital relief and that is provided by Farmer Mac's purchase commitment product. Across our other lines of business, we continue to see increased levels of competition in terms of price structure and execution, primarily due to historically low interest rate environment and the Federal Reserve Bank's continued support of the lending market. In our USDA guaranteed line of business, in addition to increased competition, we're seeing lower demand for the product in certain regions due to strong increase in commodity prices. In other words, because if the farmers financial health is stronger, they need the guarantee program less. This has also resulted in a higher increase in the high coupon USDA loans paying off compared to 2020.
Although we've seen maturities in our institutional credit line of business, we did successfully fund four new AgVantage bonds with our rural infrastructure counterparty for an aggregate amount of $375 million.
We also funded a $25 million AgVantage bond with a new counterparty that we believe offer significant agricultural holdings and growth potential. The successful funding execution of these institutional counterparties is a testament to Farmer Mac's focus on expanding its customer and business relationships and challenging ourselves to find more efficient and effective ways to provide our customers with the flexibility and assist their borrowers need.
We have stated in the past that we won't do AgVantage when the margins are too thin.
This quarter we were able to find a number of situations where that wasn't the case.
While we had limited loan purchase activity that closed from our rural utility counterparties, we do see positive momentum in the broadband and renewable energy project finance pipeline. We view this growing sector as a significant opportunity for Farmer Mac over the next several years, given the greater level of interest from rural electric cooperatives to develop and deploy broadband services and invest in renewable energy generation as well as renewed interest from a federal policy perspective in broadband and renewable energy. When I joined Farmer Mac nearly three years ago, I took steps to do a couple of simple things at Farmer Mac among them making Farmer Mac a more commercial institution making sure that we are listening to and responding to the needs of our customers by coming up with more competitive and responsive products and delivery systems. This vision really had attached to it meaningful business volume objectives that required our team to develop innovative approaches and how we acquire and retain customers and how we develop and deliver new products.
We also took into consideration the appropriate investments in people and infrastructure required to meet our long-term plans. I am really proud to say that our, consistent financial performance over the last three years and effective execution in a highly competitive lending environment where there's an abundance of liquidity today, is the direct result of the team's dedication to successfully broadening and deepening our business that's come about by learning to listen to and respond to our customers' needs. This ultimately helps us support our mission of developing and delivering more credit products that are a benefit to all of rural America.
As part of our efforts to identify opportunities to reach a larger audience, we recently engaged in a joint marketing campaign to promote a white paper that we coauthored with American Banker Association. It's available on our website. The multi-week promotional campaign is intended to shine light on agriculture mortgage market in the United States and Farmer Mac's role in helping agriculture lenders grow their business and relationship with the customers ultimately to benefit all of those in rural America. This has been an exciting opportunity for Farmer Mac to demonstrate to a wider audience how our mission is helping create tangible benefits in the agriculture marketplace.
So in summary, we are very pleased with the second quarter results and we generally expect the positive trends we've seen in the first half of 2021 to continue.
While the emergence of the delta variant creates some level of near-term uncertainty we're confident that our current infrastructure, strong capital position and commitment to our customers as well as our employees resilience and demonstrated ability to execute on our plans while working from home is going to help us navigate whatever comes our way during the remainder of the year. And now with that I'd like to turn the call over to Aparna, our Chief Financial Officer, to give you a little bit of additional insight into the financial results for the quarter. Aparna?