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Farm Service Agency has microloan program for small, startup farms

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) developed the Microloan (ML) program to better serve the unique financial operating need of beginning, niche and the smallest of family farm operations by modifying its Operating Loan (OL) application, eligibility and security requirements.

The low-interest "microloans" of up to $35,000.00 are designed to aid startup costs, bloster existing family-run farms and help minority growers and military veterans who want to farm. Over the last three years, there has been a 60 percent increase in local growers who sell directly to consumers of farms markets, Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

The program will offer more flexible access to credit and will serve as an attractive loan alternative for smaller farming operations like specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA). These smaller farms, including non-traditional farm operations, often face limited financing options.

Microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses as authorized by the FSA Operating Loan Program, including but not limited to:

&38226 Initial Start-Up Expenses

• Annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents

• Marketing and distribution expenses

• Purchase of livestock, equipment, and other materials essential to farm operations

• Hoop Houses to extend the growing season

• Irrigation

• Delivery Vehicles

For more information contact Farm Service Agency at 435-381-2300, 1090 N Des Bee Dove Road, Castle Dale, UT 84513

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