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Agriculture Today

New microloans will help beginning farmers

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April 17, 2013 | 4,188 views | Post a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the start of an exciting new loan program that will expand credit options for small farms of all types, especially young farmers and those serving local and regional food markets, including urban farmers.

According to a National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition press release, these new microloans will be funded through the Farm Service Agency’s existing Direct Operating Loan program, and will have a maximum loan amount of $35,000, which is much lower than the $300,000 loan cap for regular Farm Service Agency farm operating loans.

These smaller loans are intended to cover smaller purchases, such as seeds, animals, small equipment, or other investments that young and other beginning farmers require to finance their operations. The new microloan program will feature a simplified and streamlined application process, and will require less paperwork for farmers to fill out and appropriately reflects the smaller loan amount.

The final rule for the proposed microloan program was published Jan. 18, and the Farm Service Agency, which is USDA’s credit lending arm, intends to begin making these smaller loans effective immediately.

The new microloan program helps fill an additional, important niche within the overall Farm Service Agency loan portfolio.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grass-roots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.

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