Specially-targeted farm loans offered
Dale Dugan, Jr., Farm Loan Manager for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Berkeley County, reminds producers that FSA offers specially-targeted farm loans known as Socially Disadvantaged Applicant (SDA) Loans. These loan programs are designed to help farmers purchase and operate family farms.
According to Dugan, FSA reserves a portion of its loan funds each year for SDA loans. USDA defines socially disadvantaged applicants (SDA) as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities.
For purposes of this program, socially disadvantaged groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, and Asians and Pacific Islanders.
In fiscal year 2012, FSA obligated millions in SDA loans across the nation including 2.65 million dollars in West Virginia for over 71 applicants. Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA and include both farm operating and farm ownership loans.
Guaranteed loans also may be made for farm ownership or operating purposes, and may be made by any lending institution subject to Federal or State supervision (banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and units of the Farm Credit System including the Bank for Cooperatives) and guaranteed by FSA. Typically, FSA guarantees 90 or 95 percent of a loan against any loss that might be incurred if the loan fails.
Farm ownership loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm's operation, build or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn, promote soil and water conservation and development, and pay closing costs.
Farm operating loan funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry, farm equipment, fertilizer, and other materials necessary to operate a successful farm. Operating Loan funds can also be used for family living expenses, refinancing debts under certain conditions, paying salaries for hired farm laborers, installing or improving water systems for home, livestock, or irrigation use, and other similar improvements.
For additional information or applications for all FSA direct loan programs contact the local FSA office or the Berkeley County FSA Office located at the USDA Service Center at 151 Aikens Ctr., Suite 5 in Martinsburg or call 304-263-7547 ext 2.