Beginning Farmer Loans: New Microloan Program for Small Farms

A new USDA microloan program is designed to benefit small farms and small businesses.

Donkey and Goats on a small farm

Are you a small-scale farmer looking to add more livestock to your farm? Or maybe a hoop house or a new barn? A farm microloan could help you achieve your goals.

Photo By Fotolia/sergioboccardo

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new microloan program designed to benefit small, nontraditional and niche farm operations. The new farm microloans, which are administered through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency Operating Loan Program, offer a simplified application process and reduced paperwork compared with traditional farm loans. The maximum loan amount is $35,000, and loans can be used for initial startup expenses, seed, fertilizer, livestock, delivery vehicles, season-extension equipment and more. There is no minimum amount for these beginning farmer loans.

Microloan program applicants need to have some farm-management experience, although self-guided apprenticeships and small business involvement can count toward this requirement. This flexible farm loan offers a less burdensome path to obtain financing for those selling at farmers markets or through community-supported agriculture (CSA) operations. For more information on these small-farm loans and to determine whether you qualify, visit the United States Department of Agriculture website.