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USDA offers streamlined version of its guaranteed loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced the availability of a streamlined version of USDA guaranteed loans, which are tailored for smaller-scale farms and urban producers.

According to a USDA news release, the program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified application process to help beginning, small, underserved, and family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000 from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations.

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"Over the past seven years, we have been transforming our loan programs at USDA so that they can be attainable and useful to all kinds and sizes of producers," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a prepared statement. "These EZ Guarantee Loans will help beginning and underserved farmers obtain the capital they need to get their operations off the ground, and they can also be helpful to those who have been farming for some time but need extra help to expand or modernize their operations. USDA's Farm Service Agency has offices in nearly every county in the country, and we encourage all farmers, including those in urban areas, to stop in and inquire about this program."

More than half of all FSA loans go to new farmers and more than a quarter to underserved borrowers, according to the release. FSA also offers loans of up to $5,000 to young farmers and ranchers though the Youth Loan Program. Loans are made to eligible youth to finance agricultural projects, with almost 9,000 young people now participating.

More information about the available types of FSA farm loans can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans or by contacting your local FSA office.

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