Loans available for disadvantaged farmers

The Jefferson County Farm Service Agency Ag-Credit has announced the availability of special loans for the Socially Disadvantaged residents who want to buy or operate a family-size farm.

This special financing is for people who have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender inequality without regard to their individual qualities. SDA members include women, African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Alaskan Natives.

This program provides direct and guaranteed assistance in the form of farm operating and farm ownership loans. Direct loans are made to applicants for FSA. Guaranteed loans are issued by lending institutions, but typically 90 or 95 percent of the loan is guaranteed by FSA if the loan fails.

Operating loans may be used to purchase livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and other business related expenses. Repayment terms run from one to seven years.

Ownership loans provide capital to purchase or enlarge a farm, construct or improve buildings, promote soil and water conservation, and to pay closing costs. Direct ownership loan terms are up to 40 years. Guaranteed loan terms are established by the lender.

Applicants aren’t automatically approved. Individuals must be U.S. citizens with a satisfactory history of meeting credit obligations, have sufficient education, training or experience managing or operating a farm, possess legal capacity to incur debt, and unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

Details: Visit the FSA Ag-Credit office in the George Howard Jr. Federal Building, Room 2603, at 100 E. Eighth Ave., Pine Bluff, or call 534-3200, Ext. 2.