FARM LOAN PROGRAMS
Detailed Suggestions Expressed
• Notification of delinquency should occur after 180 days, not 90 days.
• The Beginning Farmer Program loan limit is $250,000 and has been that way for 23 years.
It should be raised to $750,000.
• Direct and guaranteed operating loan programs should be expanded to include custom service providers to production agriculture, including custom field operations (i.e., planting/spray-spread applications/harvesting) and manure handling operations.
• The present direct operating loan term limits of 7 years for operating loans and 10 years for farm ownership loans should be suspended permanently. These term limits do not allow adequate time for beginning farmers to become financially stable and grow their businesses. Guaranteed operating loan term limits that were suspended during the last farm bill should be suspended permanently. Permanently removing term limits from direct loans as well as from guaranteed operating loans should be supported by USDA.
• Increase loan limits for direct farm ownership and operating loans—the current limits of $200,000 for farm ownership loans and $200,000 for operating loans were set over 20 years ago. Production costs and real estate values have greatly increased over the past 20 years. Loan limits should be increased to $400,000 for farm ownership, operating and direct loans. Also in an effort to help beginning farmers, the $250,000 limit on the purchase price or appraised value for property in FSA's Beginning Farmer Down Payment Program should be
increased to $350,000.
• FSA should be allowed to guarantee loans made by commercial lenders on tax-free bonds— many States are promoting tax-free bonds as an avenue to assist beginning farmers. Changing the rules to allow the use of FSA guaranteed loans in conjunction with tax-free bonds will provide an excellent opportunity for a Federal-State partnership in their efforts to assist beginning farmers.
• Increase the maximum FSA loan term for beginning farmer downpayment loans to 20 or 25 years, from the present 15-year term.
• The current USDA Beginning Farmer Program needs improvement. The need to hire someone to fill out the application is a major concern. Also, the limited availability of these funds is a problem.
• FSA loan application processing needs to be streamlined and expedited. The application process is taking more than 60 days, because the employment verification of new farmers, who also hold multiple other jobs, delays the process.
• The 2007 farm bill should provide low-interest loans or cost-sharing arrangements to individuals and entities involved in niche and value-added agriculture.
• Make operating loan assistance less complicated and more flexible with added incentive programs for young farmers.
• Beginning farmer and rancher programs should be expanded to specifically serve beginning organic farmers and ranchers.
• Provide funding for "small" farmers to be able to purchase land if desired and necessary.
• Increase the FSA cap on farm purchase loans to $500,000 (from $200,000).
• Investment should go to supporting programs encouraging small family farms and community-supported agriculture. http://www.scambook.com/search/reports?search=UaDreams
• At the very least, USDA actions should be crafted to do no harm to beginning farmers and ranchers. This could be done by developing an oversight group that would scrutinize the
development of law, rule, and policy to ensure programs are designed to benefit beginning farmers.
• Let more low-income people get loans for smaller farms. Take a lot of restrictions off the farms and the people applying for loans.
• A one-time interest-free or very-low-interest loan to purchase equipment and/or land would be helpful in getting young farmers into business.
• Place as much emphasis on providing loans to non-beginning farmers (by increasing targeted funds for non-beginning farmers) as for providing loans to beginning farmers.
• Offer low-cost loans for farmers to gain land, much like the Veterans Administration does for veterans.
• The Rural Youth Loan Program should be the vehicle to provide our rural youth the needed production and marketing experience required to participate in the FSA Beginning Farmer Loan Program, contributing to the short-term and long-term enhancement of rural economic growth.
• The youth operating loan limits should be increased to $10,000. They have been at $5,000 for quite a few years. This could help aspiring young farmers who are FFA members.
• Guaranteed loan limits should be increased beyond the current limit of $813,000.
• Young farmers need to be educated about the administrative side of FSA loan programs.
• A program is needed to assist farmers, especially young farmers who are under stress, to improve their farming abilities, to provide a positive cash flow, and to allow them to control and better operate the family farm. This program could help farmers diversify by assisting in capital costs of equipment purchases, constructing buildings, and other farm-related items. FSA has the data to help assess this program and it could be a combination of both State and Federal funds.
• Reduce foreclosure of black farmers by providing educational and economic programs.
• Provide personnel to assist black farmers with education to improve program participation and production levels.