New loans for portable farm storage and handling equipment

moneyThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that the USDA is providing a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment.

The Farm Service Agency announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program. The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers – including new, small and mid-sized producers – grow their businesses and markets.

Consumer demand is increasing for food produced locally or regionally and portable handling and storage equipment is vital to helping farmers get their products to market more quickly and to maintain better product quality. The microloan option should be of particular benefit to smaller farmers and ranchers and specialty crop producers who may not have access to commercial storage or on-farm storage after harvest. These producers can invest in equipment like conveyers, scales or refrigeration units and trucks that can store commodities before delivering them to markets.

The program’s new microloan option allows applicants seeking less than $50,000 to qualify for a reduced down payment of five percent and no requirement to provide three years of production history. Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible. Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply.

Earlier this year, FSA significantly expanded the list of commodities eligible for Farm Storage Facility Loans. Eligible commodities now include aquaculture; floriculture; fruits (including nuts) and vegetables; corn, grain sorghum, rice, oilseeds, oats, wheat, triticale, spelt, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas, sugar, peanuts, barley, rye, hay and hops; honey; maple sap; unprocessed meat and poultry; eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and renewable biomass. FSFL microloans can also be used to finance wash and pack equipment used post-harvest, before a commodity is placed in cold storage.

To learn more about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport or contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit offices.usda.gov.

         
 

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