The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced a new loan program designed to help small farmers, veterans and “disadvantaged producers” get into agriculture.
The loans go up to $35,000 under the new microloan program. It aims to help people through their start-up years and get them into commercial credit.
“I have met several small and beginning farmers, returning veterans and disadvantaged producers interested in careers in farming who too often must rely on credit cards or personal loans with high interest rates to finance their start-up operations,” said Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture. “By further expanding access to credit to those just starting to put down roots in farming, USDA continues to help grow a new generation of farmers, while ensuring the strength of an American agriculture sector that drives our economy, creates jobs, and provides the most secure and affordable food supply in the world.”
Producers can apply for a maximum of $35,000 to pay for initial start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation, delivery vehicles, and annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing, and distribution expenses.
USDA farm loans can be used to purchase land, livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and supplies, or be to construct buildings or make farm improvements. Small farmers often rely on credit cards or personal loans, which carry high interest rates and have less flexible payment schedules, to finance their operations. Expanding access to credit, USDA’s microloan will provide a simple and flexible loan process for small operations.
Producers interested in applying for a microloan may contact their local Farm Service Agency office.