Until recently, applicants for an FSA direct farm ownership loan had to prove they participated in the operations of a farm for at least three years. Beginning farmers identified this eligibility requirement as a barrier to land access, as the requirement was not reflective of current realities for beginning farmers. However, the eligibility requirement has changed.
Now, a beginning farmer may substitute one year of the three-year requirement with a formal farm apprenticeship, operation or management of a non-farm business, leadership or management experience while serving in any branch of the military, advanced education in an agricultural field, or significant experience in a farm-related career.
Hopefully, this change will allow more beginning farmers access to direct loans from FSA. If you need any assistance, feel free to contact us — we’re happy to help!
The microloan program, operated by the Farm Service Agency, has recent changes that many farmers will likely appreciate.
First, the loan limit is raised from $35,000 to $50,000. This means that farmers or ranchers applying for a microloan can now access up to $50,000 for expenses such as:
- Start-up costs;
- Input costs (e.g. seed, fertilizer, chemicals, utilities);
- Marketing and distribution costs;
- Family living expenses;
- Purchase of livestock, equipment, machinery or the like essential to the operation;
- Minor improvements such as wells;
- Delivery vehicles; and
The above is a small sampling of possibilities to use with microloan funding.
Also of note, microloan funding to beginning and military veteran farmers does not count towards the total number of years a farmer can receive assistance through FSA’s direct loan program. If you are not a beginning or military veteran farmer, the microloan counts towards the seven year limit in which a farmer can receive FSA direct loan assistance.
If you have any questions about microloans, please feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to answer your questions!