Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming and those who have small and midsize farming operations.
“Many producers, especially new and underserved farmers, tell us that access to land is one of the biggest challenges they face in establishing and growing their own farming operation,” Harden said. “USDA is making it easier for new farmers to hit the ground running and get access to the land that they need to establish their farms or improve their property.”
The microloan program, which celebrates its third anniversary this week, has been hugely successful, providing producers across the country with more than 16,800 low-interest loans totaling over $373 million. Since 2013, the microloans have helped farmers and ranchers with operating costs such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment and living expenses. Seventy percent of loans have gone to new farmers.
Now, microloans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases and soil and water conservation improvements. FSA designed the expanded program to simplify the application process, expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans to help farmers strengthen their operations. Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers and can be issued to the applicant directly from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).
This microloan announcement is another USDA resource for America’s farmers and ranchers to utilize, especially as new and beginning farmers and ranchers look for the assistance they need to get started. To learn more about the FSA microloan program, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/microloans, or contact your local FSA office. To find the nearest office location, visit http://offices.usda.gov.