The Farm Service Agency has increased the borrowing limit for the MicroLoan program from $35,000 to $50,000 as of Nov. 7.
This increase was part of the 2014 farm bill. This increase will allow beginning, small and midsized farmers to access an additional $15,000 in loan funding using a simplified application process.
In fiscal year 2014, FSA approved more than 4,500 microloans nationally.
Two thirds of the microloans were made to beginning farmers. The Farm Service Agency began offering the microloan program in January of 2013. The program was developed to better serve the unique financial operating needs of small family farms, beginning farmers, and socially disadvantaged farmers.
The microloan program offers a simplified application form and loan process. The requirements for farm management experience has been modified to accommodate smaller farm operations and beginning farmers.
The farm experience can be supplemented by working with a farm mentor or through an apprenticeship program.
Microloan funds can be used for all approved FSA operating loan purposes such as initial startup expenses, annual operating expenses, the purchase of livestock, the purchase of farm equipment and hoop houses to extend the growing season.
The repayment terms for a microloan will vary with the use of the loan funds. Microloan funds used for annual operating expenses are scheduled to be repaid within 12 months or when the agricultural commodity is sold.
Microloans for livestock and farm equipment can have a term up to seven years. The payment can be paid annually from the sale of the farm products and can be scheduled to match the farm income flow.
The interest rate for microloans is based on the FSA regular operating loan rate. Additional information on the FSA microloan program or a microloan application can be obtained at local FSA offices or through the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.
That’s all for now,
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