Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that $760 million from the Supplemental Appropriations Act signed by President Obama is available for approved but previously unfunded USDA direct farm ownership and operating loans throughout the country. Vilsack made this national announcement today at the Obama Administration's 'Rural Tour' Community Forum in Wisconsin.
"President Obama provided a welcome boost to rural economies around the country when he signed the Supplemental Appropriations Act, because it has critical funds that will enable local producers to access necessary capital," said Vilsack. "USDA will deliver these loans to producers as quickly as possible to meet the capital needs of farmers and ranchers."
USDA has already provided $400 million to state offices for direct operating loans. These funds will clear a $150 million backlog of loans, which had already been approved for 2,200 family farmers. It will also provide additional funds for new loan applications.
USDA has made the remaining $360 million available for direct farm ownership loans to be distributed directly by USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA). There are currently 1,800 family farmers with approved but unfunded loans for $322 million. FSA makes direct farm loans with government funds. The agency services these loans and provides direct loan customers with individual financial planning and expertise so they have a better chance for success.
Producers can use Direct Farm Ownership loans to buy farmland, construct or repair buildings and other fixtures, and promote soil and water conservation. Operating Loans may be used to purchase items such as livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance, and other operating expenses. Operating Loans can also be used to pay for minor improvements to buildings, costs associated with land and water development, family subsistence, and to refinance debts under certain conditions. The maximum amount for either type of loan is $300,000.
Producers interested in applying for direct loans or other FSA products should visit their local FSA county offices. For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.