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Agriculture Today

Funding assistance available for beginning farmers, ranchers

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December 26, 2012 | 2,554 views | Post a comment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency is working harder than ever to assist new farmers and ranchers to succeed. A Land Contract Guarantee Program and several other tools designed to help beginning farmers and ranchers build the foundation for a successful career in agriculture has been announced by the USDA this year.

Peak land values, tight commercial credit, minimal credit history, and less collateral make it difficult for new and smaller farmers in Texas to get a commercial business loan right now.

The Land Contract Guarantee Program provides a new approach for landowners willing to sell and finance a land purchase to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer. The national program offers two options, one that guarantees up to three annual installment payments on the contract and one that guarantees 90 percent of the unpaid principal of the contract. Guarantees can be used in the purchase of land for up to $500,000.

Another new change to the agency’s lending rules for new producers is to allow more flexibility in the minimum experience requirement. Under the new rule, Farm Service Agency loan officers are now allowed to consider all prior farming experience, including on-the-job training and formal education, when determining eligibility for Farm Service Agency Farm Operating and Ownership Loans.

To qualify for a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loan from the Farm Service Agency, applicants must have a minimum level of agricultural experience, but not more than 10 years operating a farm or ranch.

For more information regarding Farm Service Agency loan information, disaster assistance programs, and other helpful programs including resources and programs for beginning farmers and ranchers, visit

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