As a farmer, whether you are just starting out or have many years of experience, there come times when you need to borrow money. Think about the following questions:
• Do you want to rent, lease, or buy a farm?
• Do you need to buy things like a tractor, irrigation pipes, or a greenhouse for your farm business?
• Do you already own or rent farmland and want to expand your farm business?
• Has a natural disaster such as drought, flooding, or a bad storm ruined your crops or damaged your farm buildings or your equipment?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be able to apply for a loan from the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
What is the Farm Service Agency?
The FSA is part of the United States government. It is an agency that lends money to farmers to help them start up and stay in business. The FSA also backs up or “guarantees” loans made by banks to farmers. If you get a loan from the FSA or a bank, you must pay the money back over time. In addition to the amount you borrow, you also must pay interest back to the FSA or the bank. A loan can help you by giving you a large amount of money up front when you need it for major expenses like buying or renting land, machines, equipment, or farm supplies.
For beginning farmers, trying to access government agencies for assistance can be confusing. Fortunately, there is a publication called "A Plain Language Guide to Applying for a FArm Service Agency (FSA) Loan" from Tufts University that can help beginning farmers. Also be on the lookout this coming August 18-19 for the "Accessing Government Programs" workshop that will be held in Columbia MO.