Improving Farm Loans
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
The average age of America’s farmers is 57 and rising. Along with that the population in rural areas is declining. In an effort to address these trends and entice more people to enter agriculture as a profession the USDA has announced that it will be improving farm loans by expanding eligibility and increasing lending limits to help more family farmers and beginning farmers. As part of this effort, USDA is raising the borrowing limit for the microloan program. Judy Olson, Washington Farm Service Agency Executive Director, explains.
OLSON: Well, the Microloan program had a maximum lending ability of $35 thousand, and one of the changes is that that is being increased to a maximum of $50 thousand. So, that’s good news for small scale and beginning farmers.
The microloan program has been popular with beginning farmers due largely in part to its faster application processing and flexibility in meeting the eligibility requirements, which will now be updated to include other valuable experiences beyond direct farm management.
OLSON: This rule change allows the substitution of related farming or management experience which could include post-secondary education in agriculture, significant business management experience, and leadership or management experience in the military. I think this will be a great assistance and value to beginning farmers who are looking to make their first agriculture farmland purchase.
The changes become effective November 7. A public comment period on the farm loan changes is open through December 8. For more information contact your local FSA office.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.