The state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, John Whitaker, reminds farmers that as they are harvesting this year's crop they also need to prepare to meet their credit needs for the upcoming operating year.
"Iowa agriculture has seen a lot of variables this year that could affect crop producers and livestock producer's needs for credit in different ways," says Whitaker. "These considerations could include financial setbacks due to a natural disaster in 2011, or perhaps strong commodity prices allowing the next generation to come back to the farm, or adding a new enterprise that will fill the needs of a niche livestock market or an alternative crop market."
As of October 1, 2011, the Farm Service Agency's lending limit for Guaranteed Loans has increased to $1,214,000, providing additional credit options to meet farm financing needs. This lending limit increases every year according to an inflation index. The total assistance available through FSA's guaranteed and direct farm loan programs has likewise increased to $1,514,000.
Higher limits for FSA loans increase opportunities for Iowa farmers
FSA makes and guarantees a variety of loans for youth and new farmers, as well as experienced farmers or producers recovering from natural disasters, says Whitaker. Direct and guaranteed loans are available to eligible farmers and can be used to purchase or improve real estate, finance livestock or crop enterprises, and purchase machinery or other capital items for the operation.
FSA specializes in loans to beginning and minority farmers, as well as to operations seeking to start or expand a specialized or alternative enterprise, he adds. A beginning farmer is generally defined as a producer who has operated a farm for 10 years or less and who does not own farm acreage greater than 30% of the median size farm in the county.Producers are encouraged to apply early so that a loan can be processed and funded in a timely manner. Applications and additional information are available at your local FSA office on on-line at www.fsa.usda.gov.