The U.S. Department of Agriculture has several loans available through its Farm Service Agency for farmers and others, including beginning and limited resource loans, direct and guaranteed loans and rural youth loans.
One program assists beginning farmers and/or members of socially disadvantaged groups to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm-loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans. FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:
• Has operated a farm for 10 years or less.
• Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm.
• Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial-management program sponsored by FSA.
• Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county’s median size.
Each member of an entity must meet the eligibility requirements. Loan approval is not guaranteed.
Direct and guaranteed loans
The Farm Service Agency provides family farmers with loans to meet their farm-credit needs. For farmers who are having trouble getting the credit they need for their farms or who regularly borrow from FSA, direct and guaranteed loans currently are available.
Farm-ownership loans or farm-operating loans may be obtained as direct loans for a maximum of $300,000. Guaranteed loans can reach a maximum indebtedness of $1,119,000. Producers are encouraged to apply early so that a loan can be processed and funded in a timely manner.
Rural youth loans
The Farm Service Agency makes loans to rural youths to establish and operate income-producing projects in connection with 4-H clubs, FFA and other agricultural groups. Projects must be planned and operated with the help of the organization’s advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience. The maximum loan amount is $5,000.
To be eligible for a youth loan, a person must:
• Be a citizen of the United States (which includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or a legal resident alien.
• Be 10-20 years old.
• Comply with FSA’s general eligibility requirements.
• Reside in a rural area, city or town with a population of 50,000 or fewer people.
• Be unable to get a loan from other sources.
• Conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work as outlined above.
• Demonstrate capability of planning, managing and operating the project under guidance and assistance from a project advisor. The project supervisor must recommend the project and the loan, along with providing adequate supervision.
The FSA Farm Loan Team located in Statesboro processes loans for Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Bryan, Chatham, Emanuel, Evans, Jenkins, Screven, Tattnall and Toombs counties. The team can be contacted by calling (912) 871-2610, ext. 5.
For loan applications and more information, visit your local USDA Service Center or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.