Jan 19, 2016USDA expands microloans to include farmland purchases
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will help beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations, the agency said.
Since 2013 the microloan program has provided more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million to producers across the country, according to an agency press release. Microloans have been used for operating costs, such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment, and living expenses. Seventy percent of loans have gone to new farmers, the USDA said.
Now, microloans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases, and soil and water conservation improvements. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) designed the expanded program to simplify the application process, expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans, the agency said. Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers, and can be issued to the applicant directly from FSA.