August 5, 2016
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, August 9 at 2:00pm EDT to provide information about the Farm Storage Facility Loan program and the expansions and improvements that have been made to it over the past two years. Register for the webinar here.
Farm Storage Facility Loans are financed through FSA and provide low interest loans to qualified producers to build or upgrade on-farm storage and handling facilities. Traditionally, these loans have provided financing for commodity grain growers’ storage bins and single-vegetable storage, such as potato storage.
In recent years, however, thanks to recommendations, encouragement and outreach by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and others, the program has greatly expanded access to loans for small, diversified farming operations.
One of the first major changes championed by NSAC and NSAC member organization, the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, was for increased loan access for fruit and vegetable storage facilities, including washing and packing houses. FSA also issued a directive waiving some of the crop insurance and acreage requirements for highly diversified farms and community supported agriculture (CSAs).
Following the expansion for fruit and vegetable facilities, FSA expanded the program once again to provide affordable 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.
Additionally, FSA issued a notice to increase coordination among the suite of loan programs available. So in a situation where a producer does not qualify for FSFL, but might qualify for another FSA loan program, the producer would be given appropriate direction on where to look for financing.
Most recently, FSA announced it that can now help finance portable storage structures, portable equipment, and storage and handling trucks – in addition to continuing to finance stationary crop and cold storage on-farm facilities. This change came via a federal rulemaking and will help FSA better serve farmers who need to get crops safely and efficiently to local farmers’ markets, schools, restaurants, food hubs, and retail stores.
NSAC commends FSA for making these changes and will continue to identify program barriers so that the FSFL program can better serve diversified small and mid-sized farming operations, including those serving local and regional markets.
To learn more, register for the August webinar here.
Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Commodity, Crop Insurance & Credit Programs, Food Safety, Local & Regional Food Systems