The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers farm operating loans to family farmers and ranchers to promote, build and sustain family farms in support of a thriving agricultural economy.
FSA provides guaranteed and direct loans. Under a guaranteed loan, a commercial lender makes and services the loan, and FSA guarantees it against loss up to a maximum of 95 percent of loan value. For those not yet meeting the qualifications for a loan guarantee from a commercial lender, FSA also makes available direct loans, which are serviced by FSA. FSA has the responsibility of providing credit counseling and supervision to its direct borrowers by making a thorough assessment of the farming operation.
The goal of FSA's farm loan programs is to graduate its borrowers to commercial credit. Once a farmer is able to obtain credit from the commercial lending sector, the agency's mission of providing temporary, supervised credit is complete.
Eligible applicants may obtain direct loans for up to a maximum indebtedness of $300,000 and a direct operating Microloan for up to a maximum indebtedness of $50,000. Maximum indebtedness for a guaranteed loan is $1,399,000 (amount adjusted annually for inflation). The repayment term may vary, but typically it will not exceed seven years for intermediate-term purposes. Annual operating loans are generally repaid within 12 months or when the commodities produced are sold. In general, loan funds may be used for normal operating expenses, machinery and equipment, minor real estate repairs or improvements, and refinancing debt.