What do siblings Kenna and Peyton Krahulik, organic farmers Lily Schneider and Matt McCue, and livestock producer Brian Morgan have in common? They worked closely with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to obtain loans, giving them the working capital they needed to grow or maintain their operation.
FSA makes and guarantees loans to family farmers and ranchers to promote, build and sustain family farms in support of a thriving agricultural economy. It’s an important credit safety net that has sustained our nation’s hard working farm families through good and bad times.
You may have read or heard how demand for farm loans has experienced an increase this year relative to last year. The high demand created a gap in funding before the end of the federal fiscal year, or Sept. 30. USDA has safeguards built into the system to help bridge short-term gaps, ensuring that farmers and producers can continue to apply for farm loans.
Since 2009, USDA has provided more than $38 billion in credit to help farm and ranch businesses grow and thrive. Annual lending to underserved producers has increased 118 percent. Our new microloan program also provides an important access point to credit for new, small or underserved farmers and ranchers. Since the program’s inception in January 2013, USDA has issued more than 20,500 microloans.
From planting until harvest, calving until market, or farrow until finish, most farmers and livestock producers at some point will use a farm ownership or operating loan for interim financing to meet cash flow needs during the period between early investments and later sales. In fact, each year FSA provides credit to more than 43,000 agricultural applicants, or guarantees loans from USDA-approved lenders to 113,000 borrowers. You can apply for direct loans from FSA or guaranteed loans, which are loans issued by FSA approved commercial lenders and backed by the federal government. These low-interest loans help farmers and ranchers do any number of things to keep their business going from purchasing or enlarging a farm; constructing or improving new farm buildings; paying closing costs; refinancing debt; purchasing equipment, seed, or livestock; or paying for other operating needs.
Whether you’re a farmer or rancher with a lifetime of experience, or just starting your own farm, ranch, or niche operation like organic or locally-sourced specialty crops, a USDA farm loan can be an excellent way to strengthen your farming business. With low interest rates, low delinquencies, and streamlined eligibility requirements, USDA continues to be the lender of first opportunity for those who raise livestock or grow crops, helping producers grow and expand their business and to achieve their version of the America dream.
If you’re interested in getting a USDA loan, file your application and submit any required paperwork with your lender or at your local FSA county office. We encourage you to apply.