Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The Farm Service Agency (FSA) microloan cap has been raised to $50,000, up from $35,000, Dr. Henry English, head of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, reminds small and beginning farmers and ranchers.
Microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses authorized by the FSA Operating Loan Program including initial start-up expenses; annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities and land rents; marketing and distribution expenses; purchase of livestock equipment; minor farm improvements such as wells and coolers; hoop houses; essential tools; irrigation and delivery vehicles. Microloans can also be used for family living expenses but not to purchase real estate, said Dr. English.
Policies related to farm experience have changed to allow other types of skills to meet the direct farming experience required for farm ownership loan eligibility.
“Management of non-farm businesses and advanced education in agriculture now count towards experience applicants need to show when applying for farm ownership loans. And, veterans can count leadership positions while serving in the military,” said Dr. English.
The microloan application process is much simpler and requires less paperwork than other operating loans. Repayment terms vary but cannot exceed seven years. Microloan application forms can be obtained from the local FSA office or printed from the USDA website.
For assistance in completing microloan applications, contact one of the following Extension associates.
Alex Cole (870) 630-2005, firstname.lastname@example.org – St. Francis, Crittenden, Cross, Woodruff, Jackson and Mississippi counties; Arlanda Jacobs (870) 714-5531, email@example.com – Lee, Phillips, Monroe and Arkansas counties; Travis Collins (870) 355-7007, firstname.lastname@example.org – Chicot, Desha and Drew counties; Kandi Williams (870) 903-8663, email@example.com – Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Sevier and Miller counties; or multi-county Extension agent Stephan Walker (870) 575-7237, firstname.lastname@example.org – Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha, Pulaski and Lonoke counties.