Farm Operating Loans

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

US Federal Government Agency (see all agencies)
Department of Agriculture , Farm Service Agency
CFDA #: 10.406

Purpose of this program:

To enable operators of not larger than family farms through the extension of credit and supervisory assistance, to make efficient use of their land, labor, and other resources, and to establish and maintain financially viable farming and ranching operations.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Loan funds may be used to: (1) Purchase livestock, poultry, fur bearing and other farm animals, fish, and bees; (2) purchase farm equipment; (3) provide operating expenses for farm enterprise; (4) meet family subsistence needs and purchase essential home equipment; (5) refinance secured and unsecured debts subject to certain restrictions; (6) pay property taxes; (7) pay insurance premiums on real estate and personal property; and (8) finance youth projects. Use restrictions are shown under Applicant Eligibility.

Who is eligible to apply...

Except for youth loans, individual applicants must: 1) Not have caused a loss to the Agency after April 4, 1996, or received debt forgiveness on more than 3 occasions prior to April 4, 1996 to receive a guaranteed loan; 2) have the necessary education and/or farm experience or training (1 year's complete production and marketing cycle within the last 5 years); 3) do not exceed the limitation on the number of years that assistance may be received; 4) possess the legal capacity to incur the obligations of the loan; 5) be unable to obtain sufficient credit elsewhere at reasonable rates, and terms; 6) project the ability to repay the loan; 7) be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; 8) after the loan is closed, be an owner/tenant operator of a family farm; and 9) comply with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of Public Law 99-198 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (FSA); Certain corporations, cooperatives, partnerships and joint operations ("entities") operating family-sized farms are also eligible for farm operating loans. In brief, entity applicants must meet some of the same eligibility requirements as individual applicants. In addition, if members, stockholders or shareholders of the entity are related by blood or marriage, at least one stockholder, shareholder partner or joint operator must operate the family-sized farm. In the case when members are not related by blood or marriage, the majority interest holders in the entity must actually operate the family-sized farm to be eligible. The entity must be authorized to operate a farm in the State in which it is located. Limited resource applicants must meet the above requirements. In addition, they must have a low income and show a need for increased farm income. In the case of limited resource entities, all the partners, joint operators, members, or stockholders must be citizens and the entity must be the owner-operator of the family farm with at least one partner, joint operator, member or stockholder operating the farm. Assistance is authorized for eligible applicants in the 50 States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and to the extent the Secretary determines it to be feasible and appropriate, the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. To be eligible to obtain a direct loan, a borrower must agree to abide by any "borrower training" requirements. Applicants/borrowers requesting guaranteed loan assistance must meet all lender requirements.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:
Credentials/Documentation

Applicants must prove that credit is not available elsewhere for the requested purposes. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Applicants file Form FSA 410-1, Application for Direct Loan Assistance, with supporting information, at the local county office of the Farm Service Agency for direct loans or Form FSA 1980-25 with the prospective lender for loan guarantees. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Certification as to eligibility is made by the local county committee (unless that responsibility has been delegated to the Agency credit officials) and an approval determination is made by a FSA official as to loan feasibility and soundness, and whether there is adequate collateral to secure any loan.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...

Deadlines

None.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The loan approval official approves or disapproves a completed application within 60 days on a direct loan application and 30 days on a guaranteed loan application.

Preapplication Coordination

None required. However, an informal conference with the local county office staff is recommended. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.

Appeals

Applicants for direct and guaranteed loans, may appeal adverse action taken. The applicant is given an opportunity to appeal the decision to the National Appeals Division. The applicant may, in the final step of the appeals process, request a review by the Director, National Appeals Division, Washington, DC. For guaranteed loans, both the lender and the applicant must request the appeal.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Renewals

Applicants may reapply at any time. Applicants denied assistance through the appeal process must establish that substantial change has occurred, since the denial decision.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

Applicants/borrowers are the direct beneficiaries and must meet the applicant eligibility requirements. Families, individuals, and entities who are farmers, ranchers or aquaculture operators are the beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries
About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Direct Loans

Financial assistance provided through the lending of Federal monies for a specific period of time, with a reasonable expectation of repayment. Such loans may or may not require the payment of interest.

Guaranteed/Insured Loans

Programs in which the Federal government makes an arrangement to identify a lender against part or all of any defaults by those responsible for repayment of loans.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Direct loans up to $200,000; guaranteed loans up to $731,000 (amount adjusted annually for inflation); direct average loan size approximately $47,365 and guaranteed average loan size approximately $157,339 for fiscal year 2001.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.

Obligations

(Direct Loans) FY 03 $695,063,000; FY 04 est $614,741,000; and FY 05 est $650,000,000. (Unsubsidized Guaranteed Loans) FY 03 $1,279,595,000; FY 04 est $944,395,000; and FY 05 est $1,400,000,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

12-4140-0-3-351; 12-1140-0-1-351.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Not applicable.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

There were 14,023 direct and 11,444 guaranteed loans made in fiscal year 2001. Farm operating loans provide credit to: (1) Establish beginning farmers; (2) assist farmers suffering from the price/cost squeeze, which will enable them to remain on the farm and refinance secured and unsecured debts; and (3) expand farming operations.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Not applicable.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Loans are scheduled for repayment over periods up to 7 years, but when justified, loans may be consolidated or rescheduled for up to 15 additional years. The interest rate for guaranteed loans is negotiated between the lender and borrower. If eligible, FSA may provide interest rate assistance on guaranteed loans at the rate of 4 percent. The interest rate for direct loans is determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Formula and Matching Requirements

The selected criteria identify essential elements considered necessary to compare the needs of the various States, and to make the best use of available program funds. This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.

Note:
A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...

Reports

Various States have USDA certified Agricultural Loan mediation programs, which are designed to assist farm borrowers and their creditors in resolving financial disputes through the process of mediation. Where a State has such a farm credit mediation program, the lender shall participate in accordance with the rules of that system. FSA is not bound by any agreements developed in mediation or findings of the mediation unless FSA agrees to them in writing.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.

Audits

Not applicable.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).

Records

Records on production, income, expenses during the period of the loan.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.

Regulations...

Authorization

Farm and Rural Development Act, as amended, Subtitle B, Sections 311-317, Public Law 92-419, 7 U.S.C. 1942; Agriculture Act of 1961, Title III, Public Law 87-128.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

7 CFR, Part 1941, Subpart A and Part 762. Farm Service Agency Fact Sheets; FSA Handbook 2 FLP; Program Aids 1610 "Farm Service Agency Producer's Guide to Loan Programs"; 1620 "Lender's Guide to FSA Loan Programs"; and 1630 "Rural Youth Loans".

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Contact the appropriate FSA State Office listed in Additional Contact Information - FMR Help.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Director, Loan Making Division, Ag Box 0522, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720-1632.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: