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USDA says farm loans continue to grow

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency has announced another year of high activity in its farm loan programs.

According to the USDA Farm Service Agency, hard-working farm families across the country accessed nearly $6 billion in new credit in 2017, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders.

At year end, FSA was assisting more than 120,000 family farmers with loans totaling just over $25 billion.

“FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain commercial credit, to help them get started, gain access to land and grow their operations.”

The FSA, which has service center offices in Batavia, Warsaw, Albion and Geneseo, provides a variety of loan assistance, including direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans, operating loans and even direct Microloans up to $50,000; and EZ Guarantees up to $100,000 with streamlined application processes.

• More than 25,000 direct and guaranteed FSA loans went to beginning or underserved farmers and ranchers.

• Over 4,200 beginning farmers received direct farm ownership loans from FSA to make their first land purchase.

• Approximately 6,500 Microloans made in the last fiscal year, three-quarters — almost 4,900 — went to beginning farmers, 1,000 went to women and 400 to veterans.

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