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FSA Loans Lend a Hand to California Farmer

Posted by Paul Lehman, FSA Regional Public Affairs Specialist in Conservation
Mar 21, 2013
Sam Pesina has grown his peach and sugar cane farm with the help of FSA loans.
Sam Pesina has grown his peach and sugar cane farm with the help of FSA loans.

Family adversity brought Sam Pesina back home to his family’s Fresno County, Calif., farm.  But it was the love of farming that kept him.

“When my dad got bone marrow cancer, there was never any question that I would return home,” said Pesina. “My dad wouldn’t have trusted anyone else [to run the farm].” So he packed his bags, glanced back at the 12 years he spent in Hawaii working in finance and starting his own mortgage brokerage company, and headed back to Orange Cove to care for his father and the farm he grew up on.

Months passed as he took on the double role of caregiver and farmer, until light at the end of the tunnel brought his father into recovery and back onto the farm. It was then Pesina realized he hadn’t missed his old life.

“I was happier as a farmer,” he said.

Pesina found land and now leases six acres of peach ground and is purchasing 5.5 acres where he grows sugar cane. Named Sugar Delight, Pesina used several FSA loans to help with operating costs. Most recently, he used a microloan to help purchase a forklift. “Out here one farmer always helps another,” said Pesina. “So borrowing my neighbor’s larger forklift worked OK, except that I had to repair it every time to use it.”

The microloan offered a lower $35,000 ceiling amount and reduced paperwork that filled an immediate need.

All along with way, with the operating loans and the microloan, the FSA staff in Fresno has shown me they really care,” said Pesina. “We have developed a sense of loyalty between us. These FSA staff members have confidence in me and I don’t want to let them down.”

Category/Topic: Conservation