Ask FSA Andy about youth loans

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Taking a bath
The wash racks were a busy place a young 4-H and FFA members washed their animals before shows and sales.

Hello again, friends;

County fair season is winding down. I always try to make a trip to as many local fairs around me that I can every year. There are similarities and differences with each one I visit. Big fairs, small fairs, and all sizes in between. Some really try to entertain while others are all about the exhibitors.

Fairgrounds are laid out in very unique ways. Morgan County, Ohio, is one of my favorites. Where else can you play a few holes of golf one week and come back to the local county fair another week? That takes great vision.

My last visit of the year is always the Coshocton County Fair. It doesn’t start until the last week in September, so the weather is usually cooler. That gets more important to me the older I get.

4-H projects

The 4-H buildings are always one of the best parts of every fair. I really enjoy touring those barns and seeing all the hard work, effort, and dedication the youth put into their projects.

And it is not just the animal projects. My neighbor has a 14-year-old son who has been entering pumpkins in the fair for the last five years and competes every year for the largest one. He treats those pumpkin vines, literally, with kind gloves.

Because of my job, I take particular interest in the youth who also make use of FSA programs. One young 4-H’er, in particular, obtained a Youth Loan through her local FSA office to buy cattle.

FSA loans

Youth loans are a great way for future farmers to get hands-on experience with the ins and outs of financial responsibility. Having FSA involved as a third party brings a different perspective to the process than just having Dad or Mom fund the project.

Now the youth has to develop a basic plan of action, from purchase through sale. Most participants in the junior fair already meet several of the basic requirements to participate in the youth loan program.

Applicants must be between 10 and 20 years of age, and also have an adviser who can “sponsor” the loan applicant. 4-H and FFA advisers can meet this requirement.

Loan proceeds can be used to purchase livestock, seed, equipment and supplies, and to pay operating expenses for the project. If needed, proceeds can also be used to buy, rent or repair needed tools and equipment.

Those wishing to get more information on this program can contact their local FSA office for more information.

It is really inspiring when kids are given the opportunity to make a project their own. The look in their eye and smile on their face at the end of a successful summer is priceless.

We all need to experience that feeling.

That’s all for now,

FSA Andy

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