USDA targets loans for beginning, women and minority farmers

Press Release

The local USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Steuben County, New York announced Wednesday that beginning farmers, women and minority farmers interested in buying and operating family-sized farms may be eligible for loans from FSA.

The Farm Service Agency is interested in promoting greater involvement in farming by both beginning farmers and start up operations as well as women and minorities. Each year, a portion of our farm loan funds is reserved especially for beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged applicants.

The loans available to Socially Disadvantages and /or start up operations are the same as those for other borrowers, as are the eligibility requirements.   Applicants under this program must meet all requirements for FSA’s regular farm loan program assistance, including:

• Have a satisfactory history of meeting credit obligations;

• Have sufficient education, experience and/or training that indicates the managerial ability to assure reasonable prospects of success;

• Be a citizen of the United States (or a legal resident alien), including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain former Pacific Island Trust Territories;

• Be unable to obtain credit elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms to meet actual needs; and

• Possess legal capacity to incur loan obligations

Applicants must be primarily and directly engaged in farming on family-size operations.  

A socially disadvantaged applicant is one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of his or her identity as members of the group without regard to his or her individual qualities. For purposes of this program, socially disadvantaged groups are women, African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

A beginning farmer is a one who has limited experience on his own, with at least one full year of managing on operation, but not more than 10 years.  Experience can be obtained by operating a farm on his own or while working with another producer on their farm.

Contact the local Farm Service Agency for detailed information about the Beginning Farmer or Socially Disadvantaged Applicant loan programs.