The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded its Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing to small and mid-sized producers.
The program includes 23 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for the country’s farmers and ranchers to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand, USDA said.
“Producers with small- and mid-sized operations, and specialty crop fruit and vegetable growers, now have access to needed capital for a variety of supplies, including sorting bins, wash stations and other food safety-related equipment. A new more flexible alternative is also provided for determining storage needs for fruit and vegetable producers, and waivers are available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or insurance coverage if available products are not relevant or feasible for a particular producer,” the department said.
Additionally, Farm Storage and Facility Loans security requirements have been eased for loans between $50,000 and $100,000. Previously, all loans in excess of $50,000 required a promissory note and additional security, such as a lien on real estate. Now, loans up to $100,000 can be secured by only a promissory note, USDA explained.
The loans can be used to build or upgrade facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables. Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns, and cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables.
More than 33,000 loans have been issued for on-farm storage, increasing grain storage capacity by 900 million bushels since May 2000, according to USDA.