USDA farm loans for under-served groups
Last updated 4/8/2019 at 11:36am
(Spokane Valley, WA), April 1, 2019 – Rod Hamilton, acting executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in the state of Washington, reminds producers that the Agency offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to under-served applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.
“Each year, a portion of the Agency’s loan funds are set aside to lend to targeted under-served and beginning farmers and ranchers,” said Hamilton. “Farming and ranching is a capital intensive business and the Agency is committed to helping producers start and maintain their agricultural operations.”
During fiscal year 2019 (October 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019), the Agency in Washington state obligated over $14.5 million in loans to under-served borrowers and beginning farmers and ranchers.
USDA defines under-served applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, under-served groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders.
To qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for fewer than 10 years. Applicants must participate materially or substantially in the operation. For farm ownership purposes, the applicant must not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the average sized farm in the county at the time of application. All direct farm ownership applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm for at least three years out of the last 10 years prior to the date the application is submitted. If the applicant is an entity, all members must be related by blood or marriage, and all entity members must be eligible beginning farmers.