Beginning farmers and ranchers continue getting into the business in Nebraska.
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Nebraska reports nearly as many loans for beginners were approved last fiscal year as the year before.
Mark Wilke, USDA FSA-Nebraska Farm Loan programs chief, says that is a good sign for the industry.
“Today’s agriculture, there are some challenging times, but there are also a lot of opportunities for new and beginning farmers to get into production agriculture,” Wilke tells Nebraska Radio Network.
He says FSA direct and guaranteed loans help people get started with favorable interest rates and loan terms.
“We’re able to extend credit to some people who are credit-worthy, but they don’t meet the down-payment requirements or they don’t have the cash flow margin that a commercial lender might require,” he explains.
“As they grow their operations and build equity in their operation, hopefully down the road they’ll qualify for commercial credit and continue to be successful.”
FSA Nebraska’s Direct Farm Ownership loans totaled $55.5 million last year, helping 256 applicants to purchase farm land and make capital improvements.
“You have to be considered a family farm operation. That’s one of the requirements,” Wilke says. “You have to actively participate in the management and labor of the farm. Then we also have a test of credit requirement.”
There are 23 FSA locations in Nebraska with staff who can consult would-be farmers and ranchers on a loan, and every county office has the loan application.
Throughout the last fiscal year, Nebraska FSA assisted 2,511 farmers with new credit totaling $412 million.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:43]