- Author: Ben Faber
USDA Farm Loan Programs
By providing access to credit, FSA's Farm Loan Programs offer opportunities to family-sized farmers and ranchers to:
- Start, improve, expand, transition, market, and strengthen family farming and ranching operations
- Beginning farmers, racial and ethnic minority farmers and women producers
- Value-added, direct sale, organic, and specialty crop operations
- Young People actively involved in agricultural youth organizations needing financial assistance for income-producing, educational, agricultural projects
- Urban farmers and roof-top producers
- Operations using alternative farming methods such as hydroponics, aeroponics, vertical farming, and freight container farming
Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans
America's next generation of farmers and ranchers are supported through FSA's "Beginning Farmer" direct and guaranteed loan programs. Farm Ownership loans can provide access to land and capital. Operating loans can assist beginning farmers in become prosperous and competitive by helping to pay normal operating or family living expenses; open doors to new markets and marketing opportunities; assist with diversifying operations; and so much more. Through the Microloan programs, beginning farmers and ranchers have an important source of financial assistance during the start-up years.
While FSA is fully committed to all farmers and ranchers, there is a special focus on the particular credit needs of farmers and ranchers who are in their first 10 years of operation. Each year, FSA targets a portion of its lending by setting aside a portion of all loan funds for financing beginning farmer and rancher operations. With the single exception of the Direct Farm Ownership Down Payment Loan, the Beginning Farmer classification is not related to a type of loan program; it references a specific, targeted funding source.
The focus of Microloans is on the financing needs of small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm operations, such as truck farms, farms participating in direct marketing and sales such as farmers' markets, CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture), restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponic, organic and vertical growing methods.