End Rows for Feb. 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Loans for the socially disadvantaged

FSA has a number of loan programs available to assist applicants to begin or continue in agriculture production. Loans are available for operating expenses or to purchase a farm.

While all qualified producers are eligible to apply for these loan programs, FSA has provided priority funding for members of socially disadvantaged applicants.

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, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

FSA loans are only available to applicants who meet all the eligibility requirements and are unable to obtain the needed credit elsewhere.

Rural youth loans

The Farm Service Agency makes loans to rural youths to establish and operate income-producing projects in connection with 4-H clubs, FFA and other agricultural groups.

Projects must be planned and operated with the help of the organization advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and

educational experience. The maximum loan amount is $5000.

Youth loan eligibility requirements:

-- Be a citizen of the United States -- including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands -- or a legal resident alien.

-- Be 10 to 20 years of age.

-- Comply with FSA's general eligibility requirements.

-- Reside in a rural area, city or town with a population of 50,000 or fewer people.

-- Be unable to get a loan from other sources.

-- Conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work as outlined

above.

-- Demonstrate capability of planning, managing and operating the project under guidance and assistance from a project adviser. The project supervisor must recommend the project and the loan, along with providing adequate supervision.

Stop by the county office for help preparing and processing the application forms.

Beginning farmer loans

FSA assists beginning farmers to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans.

FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:

-- Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years.

-- Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm.

-- Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA.

-- Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county's median size.

Additional program information, loan applications, and other materials are available at local USDA Service Centers.

You may also visit www.fsa.usda.gov. for more information.

Phone extensions have changed

The Saline County USDA Service Center has a new phone system. This means staff now have different extensions.

If you normally dialed an employee directly, the old extension will not work. Please listen to the automated menu and select the agency you need:

-- Farm Service Agency, extension 2.

-- Natural Resources Conservation Service and Soil and Water Conservation District, extension 3.

If you dial an old extension, the call will not go through.