FARM LOAN PROGRAMS
General Opinions Expressed
• Participants generally expressed support to increase the guaranteed and direct operating and farm ownership loan limits. The general consensus was that the current direct loan limits
have not been changed in many years and have not kept pace with inflationary changes that have occurred in the agricultural economy.
• Many asked to have the direct and guaranteed loan term limits abolished so producers have sufficient time to recover from financial hardships.
• Many expressed concerns about the complicated process of applying for FSA loan assistance. They routinely stated the loan process needs to be streamlined for simplicity. They also expressed concern that too much time elapses between application filing and loan closing.
• Many participants expressed support for the beginning farmer loan program and helping beginning farmers. The general consensus was that funding needs to be increased. Low-interest loans should be provided to young farmers under this program. Participants also supported added incentives to encourage new farmers to get into farming. Many said that better rates and terms should be provided to beginning farmers seeking agency loan assistance.
• Participants also expressed general support for the continuation of the FSA direct and guaranteed operating loan programs. Many commented that the programs should be expanded to allow loan funds to be used for custom farming, value-added crops, niche farming, and organic farming. Other commenters encouraged FSA to increase credit supervision to prevent misuse and abuse of its program loan funds.
• Several comments were made concerning the continuation and improvement of the Rural Youth Loan Program. Participants expressed support for increasing the loan limit of the program.
• Some participants expressed a need for additional technical assistance and education programs for farmers and ranchers. The general consensus on this topic was that more management training is needed for farmers; minority farmers need increased opportunities for education and technical assistance; and more technical and business planning help is needed for farmers.
• Some participants expressed a need for increased outreach efforts and activities by FSA concerning the existence and availability of loan programs. Participants stated the agency does a poor job of informing the farming public regarding the availability of financial programs.
• Some participants stated that FSA needs to do a better job of supporting minority and socially disadvantaged farmers, as well as small farmers.
• Some participants said that they had no confidence in the local FSA directors regarding receiving guaranteed loan assistance.
• General support was expressed for intergenerational transfer of assets and farm operations within families.
• Some want simplified methods of applying for conservation contracts and loan restructure which would preserve farm operations and prevent farmland from being lost to residential and industrial development.
• Many felt that relaxed recordkeeping requirements are needed.
• Leniency on bank loans due to rising energy costs was encouraged.
© FVC National Centre 2001-2011