August 18, 2015
Washington, DC, August 18, 2015 – Just weeks after expanding financing options for produce growers, USDA’s Farm Service Agency this week expanded the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program to provide very low-interest financing to farmers to build or upgrade storage for meat, dairy, and eggs. The FSA notice to its field offices also covers flowers, hops, and rye.
“We congratulate FSA for this expansion of the program to cover the needs of additional farmers, especially those serving local and regional markets with high quality meat, eggs, and dairy products,” said Juli Obudzinski, a senior policy specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “Grain storage is important, but we are pleased to see USDA reaching out to serve other needs and a more diverse range of farm businesses.”
The Farm Storage Facility Loan program was expanded to serve produce farmers and finance cold storage facilities for the first time in the 2008 Farm Bill. Changes introduced by FSA in 2014 extended the program to also finance many aspects of fruit and vegetable packing sheds.
The new announcement makes the following commodities eligible for facility loans: unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, floriculture (flowers), hops, rye, and aquaculture.
Most grains and oilseeds have been eligible for the FSFL program since the program’s beginning, and pulse crops, peanuts, hay, biomass, and honey were added later.
“The new expansion will allow FSA to serve a more complete range of farming operations in building and improving short-term on-farm storage capacity,” said Obudzinski. “This will help farmers keep food safe, facilitate new markets, and better serve the expanding customer base for healthy, local and regional food.”
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.