Hello again, friends:
The Farm Service Agency continues to have loan funds available in all categories of the loan programs: Direct operating loans, including microloans and youth loans; direct farm ownership loans, including down payment and joint financing loans; guaranteed operating loans; and guaranteed farm ownership loans.
It appears that we will continue to have loan funds available the remainder of the fiscal year. The direct operating loan and direct farm ownership loan funds continue to be targeted towards beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers.
Beginning farmers are an individual or entity who has not operated a farm for more than 10 years and meets the eligibility requirements as applicable.
For a farm ownership loan, the beginning farmer applicant cannot own more than 30 percent of the average-sized farm (at the time of the application) in the county where they want to locate.
A socially disadvantaged farmer is an individual who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group — American Indians, Alaskan natives, Asians, African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and women.
A veteran farmer is a farmer who has served in the Armed Forces (U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard including the reserve components thereof), and who has either not operated a farm or operated a farm for not more than 10 years.
The micro operating loan program has been well accepted. Since Oct. 1, 2013, FSA nationally has funded 4575 microloans. Of these loans: 3,236, or 71%, were to beginning farmers; 1,570 or 34% were to socially disadvantaged farmers; 802, 17%, were to female farmers; 326, of 7 percent, were to veteran farmers. A loan applicant can have been in more than one of the above categories.
A large number of microloan applicants are former youth loan borrowers who are now starting their own farm operation. Many of the microloans are to startup farm operations.
FSA microloans are limited to a maximum of $35,000. Microloan funds can be used for all approved FSA operating purposes such as initial startup expenses; annual operating expenses such as seed, fertilizer, rent; purchase of livestock and equipment; hoop houses to extend the growing season; and irrigation equipment.
The repayment terms for microloans will vary with the use of the loan funds. Loan funds used for annual operating expenses are scheduled to be repaid within 12 months or when the agricultural commodities produced are sold. Loans for livestock and equipment can have a term up to seven years. The interest rate for microloans is based on the FSA regular operating loan interest rate.
Additional information on the Farm Service Agency loan programs can be obtained at your local FSA office or through the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.
That’s all for now,