USDA offers new loans for portable farm storage and handling equipment
Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Elanor Starmer announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program recently.
The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and markets, according to FSA.
“Portable handling and storage equipment is vital to helping farmers get their products to market more quickly and better maintain product quality, bringing them greater returns. That’s why this type of equipment has been added as a new category for our Farm Storage Facility Loan program,” FSA stated in a recent press release.
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.
Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply, according to the release.
Earlier this year, FSA significantly expanded the list of commodities eligible for Farm Storage Facility Loan.
Eligible commodities now include aquaculture; floriculture; fruits (including nuts) and vegetables; corn, grain sorghum, rice, oilseeds, oats, wheat, triticale, spelt, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas sugar, peanuts, barley, rye, hay, honey, hops, maple sap, unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and renewable biomass.
FSFL microloans can also be used to finance wash and pack equipment used post-harvest, before a commodity is placed in cold storage.
To learn more about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport or contact the Charlotte/Lunenburg FSA County Office at (434) 542-5121.