USDA expands loan program for specialty produce growers

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USDA expands loan program for specialty produce growers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended options for fruit and vegetable growers through an expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, in a move that will also benefit SME farmers and ranchers. American Dollars Benjamin Franklin

In a release, the USDA said the new program would include 23 new categories of eligible equipment for produce growers, including sorting bins, wash stations and other food safety-related equipment.

The adjusted program has also been tipped as more flexible in determining storage needs, while waivers will be available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or insurance coverage when available products are not relevant or feasible for a specific producer.

While previously a debtor would need a promissory note and additional security for any loan above US$50,000, under the new system they would only need the promissory note for a loan of up to US$100,000.

"The Farm Storage and Facility Loan program has helped American farmers and ranchers to finance on-farm storage for almost 13 years," said Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia.

"We anticipate these changes will increase the number of individuals who qualify for these loans and help them access new market opportunities."

Eligible commodities for loans to build or upgrade permanent storage facilities include not just fruits and vegetables, but also grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey and renewable biomass commodities.

Since May 2000, more than 33,000 loans have been issued for on-farm storage.


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