Small-to-mid-sized non-traditional farms have unique lending needs. They often don’t fit the traditional requirements for agricultural credit programs. In response, the Farm Service Agency created a flexible microloan program for these non-traditional borrowers. There are two types available, Farm Operating Loans, and Farm Ownership Loans. Each offers up to $50,000 with the repayment structure based on loan type.
Jim Radintz is the Farm Services Agency deputy administrator for farm loan programs. He says the Farm Operating Loans can be used for anything related to operating a farm.
"Anything from annual expenses for feed, seed, fertilizer, rent. Buying any kind of breeding stock, farm machinery, anything related to operations on a farm," says Radintz. "In the case of the Farm Ownership microloans, in addition to purchasing real estate, the funding can also be used for improvements like building permanent fences, doing some irrigation or drainage."
The microloan application process is simplified because of its nature, and because of the small amount of credit involved.
"The documentation requirements and the degree of supporting information is somewhat reduced, so we’ve tried to make it a little easier. Our intent with these programs is to reach beginners in particular," says Radintz. "In fact, about 70% of our microloan recipients right now have been beginners, and we define a beginning farmer as someone who has farmed less than 10-years."
The microloan application process is ongoing and Radintz says to apply you can do so online, or stop in at your local Farm Service Agency office.
Information on various USDA microloans
Request for microloan assistance
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