April 8, 2014
Guaranteed Loan Eligibility
Changes to FSA regulations have removed Guaranteed Operating term limits. Previous and current guaranteed loan borrowers who were not eligible for further guaranteed loans due to the previous 15 year eligibility term limit may now be eligible for further guaranteed loans through their commercial lender.
Direct Loan Changes
Changes were made to the interest rate charged on loans where FSA provides 50 percent or less on jointly financed purchases of real estate also called Direct Farm Ownership Participation Loans. The interest rate will be the greater of 2.5 percent or the current interest rate for direct Farm Ownership loans minus 2 percent, as a fixed rate for the duration of the loan. In March the direct Farm Ownership rate was 4.25 percent. Because the 2.5 percent floor is greater than subtracting 2 percent from the direct farm ownership loan rate, the rate for Direct Farm Ownership Participation Loans in March was 2.5 percent.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers applicants a Microloan designed to help farmers with credit needs of $35,000 or less. The loan features a streamlined application process built to fit the needs of new and smaller producers. This loan program will also be useful to specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA).
Eligible applicants can apply for a maximum amount of $35,000 to pay for initial start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation and annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing, and distribution expenses. As financing needs increase, applicants can apply for a regular operating loan up to the maximum amount of $300,000 or obtain financing from a commercial lender under FSA’s Guaranteed Loan Program.
In addition to microloans, FSA offers several farm loan programs that provide funding to purchase land, livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and supplies, or can be used to construct buildings or make farm improvements.
Individuals interested in applying for a microloan or would like to discuss other farm loan programs available, should contact Farm Loan Officer Mark Arnold at 740-392-0801 to setup an appointment.
Beginning and Limited Resource Farmers
FSA has funding to assist beginning farmers and or members of socially disadvantaged groups to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans.
FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:
- Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years;
- Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm;
- Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA;
- Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county’s median farm size; and
- Also, the applicant must meet the loan eligibility requirements of the program to which he/she is applying.
Note: All applicants for direct farm ownership loans must have participated in a business operation of a farm for at least three years.
To find out more about loans for Beginning Farmer and Ranchers and more basic qualifications required, contact Farm Loan Officer Mark Arnold at 740-392-0801 to setup an appointment.