Thursday, May 19, 2016
FARM STORAGE LOANS EXPANDED TO HELP FARMERS REACH LOCAL FOOD MARKETS
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced in April that their Farm Storage Facility Loan program can now help finance portable storage structures, portable equipment, and storage and handling trucks in addition to continuing its longstanding capacity to finance stationary crop and cold storage on-farm facilities. This expansion of the low-interest loan program will help FSA better serve fruit and vegetable farmers and others who need to get crops safely and efficiently to local farmers’ markets, schools, restaurants, food hubs, and retail stores.
The program also offers a new "microloan" option, which allows applicants seeking less than $50,000 to qualify for a reduced down payment of five percent and no requirement to provide three years of production history. Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible. The microloan option is expected to be of particular benefit to smaller farms and ranches, and specialty crop producers who may not have access to commercial storage or on-farm storage after harvest. These producers can invest in equipment like conveyers, scales or refrigeration units and trucks that can store commodities before delivering them to markets.