FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2016
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (January 19, 2016) – A federal microloan program designed to assist underserved farmers – including beginning farmers and ranchers, veterans, small producers and other underserved communities in agriculture – was expanded today. And that is great news for rural America, says National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson.
“Beginning and underserved farmers face the same financial challenges when entering agriculture as established producers, but do so with considerably weaker balance sheets. These challenges include high land prices, rising input and equipment costs, and living expenses,” said Johnson. “We’re very pleased to see an expansion in this loan program aimed at helping these farmers acquire land and access the tools they need to succeed.”
Since its inception in 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s microloan program has provided more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million, to producers across the country. Today’s announcement will broaden its reach by expanding the program’s eligibility requirements, simplifying the application process, and expediting approval of real estate loans.
“This expansion makes several important improvements to bolster the effectiveness and timeliness of the microloan program,” noted Johnson. “We are confident USDA will continue to work to fine-tune its loan offerings, making them more timely, efficient and effective for those who rely on them, and we are excited to continue working closely with them throughout the process,” he said.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.