Additional federal assistance targeted for beginning farmers

New federal programs have been enacted to stimulate beginning and younger farmers to establish new, or retain ownership of existing, small family farms, according to Farm Service Agency officials.

Jack Salava, acting state executive director for FSA in Kansas, said the loan programs should increase lending activity in the farm community.

?FSA wants you to succeed,? Salava said. ?This is evident in FSA?s consultative approach, offering low rates and identifying other resources to clients in an advisory fashion throughout the life of the loan.?

FSA staff can refer customers to other public financial aid sources that can serve as a blend with FSA?s existing farm loan programs that address a variety of needs, including operating, ownership, disaster, youth and loans for beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged applicants.

FSA defines a socially disadvantaged person as someone from a group that has been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice without regard to their individual qualities.

For purposes of this program, these groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, and Asians and Pacific Islanders.

FSA offers direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan programs to farmers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit and who meet other regulatory criteria.

Each year, a portion of the funding FSA receives for loan programs is specifically targeted for socially disadvantaged persons and beginning farmers.

In fiscal year 2008, Kansas obligated $1,321,855 through 48 loans to qualified farmers under the Socially Disadvantaged Persons Loan Program. Also, $12,198,317 through 198 loans was obligated to qualified applicnts under the Beginning Farmer Program.

Guaranteed loans may be made by any lending institution subject to federal or state supervision?banks, savings and loans, and units of the Farm Credit System. FSA typically guarantees 90 or 95 percent of the loan against any loss that might be incurred if the loan fails.

Farm Storage Facility Loans are available to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. Loans have a maximum term of seven years. The current interest rate is 2.50 percent for loan applications approved in April 2009.

Persons from Marion County interested in more infomration should contact FSA at the USDA Service Center in Marion.

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