[March 18, 2014]SPRINGFIELD — Last week the U.S.
Department of Agriculture announced the expansion of the Farm
Storage Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing
to producers. The enhanced program includes 22 new categories of
eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers and makes it
easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the
equipment they need to grow and expand.
This is part of a broader effort as announced by Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack to help operators of small and midsized
farms and ranches.
Producers with small and midsized operations, and specialty
crop fruit and vegetable growers, now have access to needed
capital for a variety of supplies including sorting bins, wash
stations and other equipment related to food safety. A new, more
flexible alternative is also provided for determining storage
needs for fruit and vegetable producers, and waivers are
available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or
insurance coverage if available products are not relevant or
feasible for a particular producer.
Additionally, Farm Storage Facility Loan security
requirements have been eased for loans between $50,000 and
$100,000. Previously, all loans in excess of $50,000 required a
promissory note and additional security, such as a lien on real
estate. Now, loans up to $100,000 can be secured by only a
"The Farm Storage and Facility Loan program has helped
American farmers and ranchers to finance on-farm storage for
almost 13 years," said Juan M. Garcia, administrator of the Farm
Service Agency. "We anticipate these changes will increase the
number of individuals who qualify for these loans and help them
access new market opportunities."
The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade
permanent facilities to store commodities. Grains, oilseeds,
peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities,
and fruits and vegetables are eligible commodities. Grain bins,
hay barns and cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables
are qualified facilities.
Other new changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan program will
allow FSA state committees to subordinate Commodity Credit Corp.’s
These changes to the program were issued via an official notice
to state and county Farm Service Agency offices and became effective
Since May 2000, more than 33,000 loans have been issued for
on-farm storage, increasing grain storage capacity by 900 million
More information about tools and resources available to operators
of small and midsized farms will be rolled out in the coming months,
including information about access to capital, risk management, food
safety and locating market opportunities. (See related USDA Web
Resources for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers.)