Farm Service Agency Loans Available

We received this letter today and want to share the information with all of our Stonington Farmers Market vendors who may qualify. See you Friday from 10AM to Noon at the best farmers market in Maine!

June 11, 2015

Dear Farmer’s Market Participant:

This letter serves an in introduction to the Farm Service Agency’s Farm Loan Program. FSA makes and guarantees Farm Ownership (FO) and Operating Loans (OL) and provides supervised credit to family farms who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit.

Farm Operating Loans

FSA Operating Loans can be used to purchase livestock, equipment, feed, seed, supplies, or to refinance certain farm operating debts. Direct Operating Loans are available up to $300,000 for repayment of 1 to 7 years and guaranteed loans for a maximum of $1,392,000.

Micro Loans

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) developed the Microloan (ML) program to better serve the unique financial operating needs of beginning, niche and small family farm operations.

FSA offers applicants a Microloan designed to help farmers with credit needs of $50,000 or less. The loan features a streamlined application process built to fit the needs of new and smaller producers.  This loan program will also be useful to specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA).

Eligible applicants can apply for a maximum amount of $50,000 to pay for initial start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation and annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing, and distribution expenses.  As financing needs increase, applicants can apply for a regular operating loan up to the maximum amount of $300,000 or obtain financing from a commercial lender under FSA’s Guaranteed Loan Program.

Individuals who are interested in applying for a microloan or would like to discuss other farm loan programs available should contact their local FSA office to set up an appointment with a loan official.

Real Estate Loans

FSA Farm Ownership loans can be used to purchase land, construct buildings, or make farm improvements. Direct FO Loans are available up to $300,000 for repayment of up to 40 years and Guaranteed FO loans up to $1,392,000.

Socially Disadvantaged Loans

FSA reserves direct and guaranteed loan funds each year to help Socially Disadvantaged Applicants (SDA) and Begin inning Farmers buy and operate family size farms and ranches. An SDA farmer is one group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as a member of the group without regard to their individual qualities. These groups include women, African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. SDA farmers must meet the same loan eligibility requirements as traditional applicants. A beginning farmer or rancher is an individual or entity who (1) has not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years; (2) meets the loan eligibility requirements of the program to which he/she is applying.

Youth Loans

The Farm Service Agency also has a Youth Loan Program available to eligible youths 10 to 20 years of age who are interested in establishing a modest income producing, agriculture-related, educational project while participating in 4-H, FFA or similar organization may apply. FSA will work with youths interested in establishing a number of eligible projects such as; raising livestock, managing a vegetable stand, etc. The project must be organized and supervised by an adult, such as a 4-H leader, or teacher. The project must produce sufficient income to repay the loan and may be financed up to $5,000. The application form is used by FSA to process loan requests and determine eligibility. Applicants under the age of 18 must obtain written recommendation and consent from a parent or guardian.

Please feel free to call your local FSA county office for more information. Servicing the Farm Loan Program in the counties of Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Washington and Hancock

Jennifer Ranke

Farm Loan Manager

(207) 474-8323 Somerset County Office

(207) 255-3612 Washington County Office

(207) 947-3555 Penobscot County Office

CLICK THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD PDF: 2014 Farm Loan Farm Bill Fact Sheet

CLICK THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD PDF: microloans_facts_2014

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