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Microloans help farmers purchase farmland, improve property

• Jul 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM

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 appointment with a Loan Approval Official.

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Supervised credit: Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan programs are considered supervised credit. Unlike loans from a commercial lender, FSA loans are intended to be temporary in nature. Therefore, it is our goal to help you graduate to commercial credit, and our farm loan staff is available to help borrowers through training and credit counseling. The FSA team will help borrowers identify their goals to ensure financial success.

Through this process, FSA staff will advise borrowers in developing strategies and a plan to meet your operation’s goals and graduate to commercial credit. Ultimately, the borrower is responsible for the success of the farming operation, but FSA’s staff will help in an advisory role to provide the tools necessary to help you achieve your operational goals and manage your finances.

For more information on FSA farm loan programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

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Communication is key in lending: 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.

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FSAfarm+, FSA’s customer self-service portal: The USDA FSA has launched a tool to provide farmers with remote access to their personal farm information using their home computers. Farmers and producers can now view, print or export their personal farm data all without visiting an FSA county office. The program, known as FSAfarm+, provides you with secure access to view your personal FSA data, such as base and yields, Conservation Reserve Program data, other conservation program acreage, Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation status information, field boundaries, farm imagery, name and address details, contact information and membership interest and shares in the operation.

This data will be available in real time, at no cost to the producer and allow operators and owners to export and print farm records, including maps. Producers also can electronically share their data with a crop insurance agent from their own personal computer. Farm operators and owners first will need “Level 2 eAuthentication” to access the webportal. This level of security ensures that personal information is protected for each user.

Level 2 access can be obtained by going to www.eauth.usda.gov, completing the required information and then visiting your local FSA office to finalize access.

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Dates to remember:

Aug. 1 — Last day to file county committee nomination forms.

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

Aug. 15 — 2018 CRP Transition Incentives Program (TIP) Enrollment application deadline.

Aug. 17 — 2018 CRP Continuous Enrollment signup deadline.

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