The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 28, 2013

Farm Service Agency helping beginning, small farmers


Monday, January 28, 2013 — New and beginning farmers and producers in Stanly County now have an agricultural Microloan credit option to consider.  As of Jan. 15, the U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) began offering its customers a Microloan designed to help farmers and producers with credit needs of $35,000 or less. This loan features a streamlined application and a simplified qualification process built to fit the needs of new and smaller producers.  

“This innovative offering will be more customer-friendly than our larger, more traditional loan programs,” said Suzanne Simpson, Farm Loan Officer.    

“Stanly County farms, and those beginning a farm, may receive a smaller loan for start-up or operational needs, making this a great new tool to consider.”

“For those selling at farmers’ markets or through community-supported agriculture operations (CSAs), a Microloan might serve their needs perfectly,” Simpson said.  

“And the reduced paperwork associated with the new Microloan will help expedite the process for everyone.”

In 2012, the Farm Service Agency provided farm loan assistance to agricultural producers in North Caro-lina.  Last year, 325 operating loans totaling over $24 million accounted for the majority of the loans extended, while 21 farm ownership loans accounted for more than $4 million.  In 2012, emergency loans were written for 42 producers in North Carolina recovering from natural disasters.

“The interest rate of 1.25 percent on the new FSA Microloan is a great benefit for farmers and producers who are just starting, in need of capital and on a tight budget,” Simpson said.

“Producers in Stanly County can contact (704) 233-1621, ext. 2, for details to determine if they qualify for a Microloan.”

The Microloan term can be up to seven years.

In response to tighter financial markets, USDA has expanded the availability of farm credit, helping farmers refinance loans across the U.S. Since 2009, USDA has provided more than 128,000 loans to family farmers totaling more than $18 billion. More than 50 percent of the loans went to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

For more information on Microloans and other FSA programs contact your local USDA service center.