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Communication is key in lending

• Jul 14, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Farm Service Agency (FSA) is committed to providing our farm loan borrowers the tools necessary to be a success. A part of ensuring this success is providing guidance and counsel from the loan application process through the borrower’s graduation to commercial lending institutions.

While it is FSA’s commitment to advise borrowers as they identify goals and evaluate progress, it is crucial for borrowers to communicate with their farm loan staff when changes occur. It is the borrower’s responsibility to alert FSA to any of the following: Any proposed or significant changes in the farming operation; Any significant changes to family income or expenses; The development of problem situations; Any losses or proposed significant changes in security. In addition, if a farm loan borrower cannot make payments to suppliers, other creditors, or FSA on time, contact your farm loan staff immediately to discuss loan servicing options. For more information on FSA farm loan programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

In other news...

Help for farmers purchasing farmland, improving property producers: The FSA offers farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations. Microloans have helped farmers with operating costs, such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment, and living expenses since 2013.

Now, microloans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases, and soil and water conservation improvements. FSA designed the expanded program to simplify the application process, expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans to help farmers strengthen their operations. Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers, and can be issued to the applicant directly from the FSA. Individuals interested in applying for a FSA microloan or would like to discuss other farm loan programs available, should contact their local FSA office to setup an appoint

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Direct farm ownership loan program helps start, expand farms: Your County Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds anyone interested that there is funding available for eligible farmers for low interest loans through FSA’s direct farm ownership program. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay.

New and beginning farmers, military veterans and underserved farmers also are encouraged to apply. Each year Congress targets 80 percent of available loan funds to beginning and targeted underserved farmers and producers. Targeted underserved groups include American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and women. To find out more about the FSA direct farm loan program or other loans available, contact your county FSA office to setup an appointment with a loan approval official.

2018 ARC/PLC enrollment period ends Aug. 1: Farmers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program can visit FSA county offices to sign contracts and enroll for the 2018 crop year. The enrollment period will end on Aug. 1. Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year.

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Dates to remember

July 15 — Final certification date to report; cabbage planted through May 31; corn, grain sorghum, hybrid corn seed, spring oats, potatoes, popcorn, sugar beets, tomatoes and other crops.

Aug. 1 — Last day to file County Committee Nomination forms.

Aug. 1 — Last day to enroll in ARC/PLC coverage for 2018.

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