April 10 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency has announced a year of high activity in its farm loan programs. The agency issued almost $6 billion in new credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders in 2017. The FSA was also assisting more than 120,000 farmers with loans totaling over $25 billion.
“FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Robert Johansson, acting deputy under secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain commercial credit, to help them get started, gain access to land and grow their operations. Family farmers across America also come to us for credit when they face challenges to stay in business.”
Loan types include direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans, operating loans, direct microloans up to $50,000 and EZ Guarantees up to $100,000. In 2017, more than 4,200 beginning farmers received direct farm ownership loans from FSA to make their first land purchase. In addition, roughly 6,500 microloans were made in the last fiscal year, nearly three-quarters of which were to beginning farmers. Four hundred of these loans were made to veterans, and 1,000 went to women.
In an attempt to improve technical assistance to existing and prospective borrowers, FSA has published two booklets containing information and resources. Your FSA Farm Loan Compass was developed for farmers and ranchers who have an existing farm loan with FSA. It outlines borrower responsibilities and the servicing options FSA offers. It also addresses questions borrowers may have as they navigate through loan program requirements and the financial concepts involved.
Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans was created for new loan customers. It provides information about the various loan types available and is intended to guide new borrowers through the application process. A newly revised version addresses program changes and includes new loan offerings, including the microloan program that was introduced after the publication of the original guide.
To find a local FSA office, click here.