The USDA’s Farm Service Agency has loan programs to assist beginning farmers and members of socially disadvantaged groups to finance agricultural enterprises.
Congress has set targets by reserving loan funds in each program for beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers.
They have targeted 75 percent of the direct farm ownership loan funds and 50 percent of the direct operating loan funds for beginning farmers.
The percentage of targeted loan funds for socially disadvantaged farmers is based on the percentage of the total rural population made up of socially disadvantaged groups and the statewide percentage of total farmers who are female. The reserve for direct loan funds remains in effect until Sept. 1 each fiscal year.
Congress has defined a beginning farmer as those who have not operated a farm for more than 10 years and, for a farm ownership loan, does not own farm real estate which does not exceed 30 percent of the median farm acreage in the county. Congress has defined socially disadvantaged groups, for farm loan program purposes, as being American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, African Americans, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and women.
FSA has several loan programs to assist beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged applicants:
- Direct operating microloans for operating expenses and capital purchases with a maximum loan limitation of $35,000. The loan program has reduced the application paperwork process.
- Direct operating loans for operating expenses, livestock purchases, and farm equipment purchases with a maximum loan limitation of $300,000.
- Direct farm ownership loans for purchasing real estate and real estate improvements with a maximum loan limitation of $300,000.
- A special down payment farm ownership loan for beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers. The maximum loan is $225,000 with a reduced interest rate. The applicant has to have 5 percent down. FSA loans 45 percent of the purchase and another lender has to loan 50 percent of the purchase.
In fiscal year 2013 Ohio FSA approved 124 down payment farm ownership loans and 23 direct farm ownership to beginning farmers plus 33 direct farm ownership loans to socially disadvantaged applicants.
Ohio FSA made 72 direct annual operating loans and 40 term operating loans to beginning farmers. Ohio FSA also made 13 direct annual operating loans, 20 direct term operating loans, and 38 youth loans to socially disadvantaged applicants.
Of the direct farm ownership loans nationally, 74.9 percent were made to beginning farmers. Of the direct operating loans nationally, 56 percent were made to beginning farmers and 29 percent to socially disadvantage applicants.
Additional information on Farm Service Agency farm loan programs can be obtained by contacting your local FSA office, the Farm Loan team serving you county, or the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.
That’s all for now,
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