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Loan money to be allocated to minority and women farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency announced last week that it has allocated a portion of its farm loan program funds specifically for minority and women producers.

"While FSA farm loans are available to all qualified applicants, by setting aside funds specifically for minorities and women, it ensures that they will receive a portion of available funds," said Judy Olson, State Executive Director.

Loan funds can be used to purchase farms, livestock and equipment. They may also be used to operate the farm, build or repair farm service buildings, pay for soil and water conservation practices, and in some cases refinance debts.

FSA offers both direct and guaranteed loans. Terms for direct loans made by FSA to purchase a farm may extend to 40 years with a current interest rate of 3 percent. Special programs are available for participation with a commercial lender.

Direct operating loans may be made for one to seven years with a current interest rate of 1.125 percent, which is subject to change. If the rate goes above 5 percent, these loans could be made at a rate as low as 5 percent, depending on a farm operation's cash flow.

The FSA guaranteed loans are made by banks or other lenders for which FSA guarantees up to 90 percent of any loss. The guaranteed loan program includes both operating and real estate loan programs.

Additional information about these programs in Yakima, Kittitas and Klickitat counties is available through the Yakima County FSA Office, at (509) 454-5746 ext. 2 or 1606 Perry Street, Suite A, Yakima, WA 98902.

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