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Federal Down Payment Loan Program Program Authorization Statute

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans to beginning farmers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial lenders. Each fiscal year, FSA targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownershipand operating loan funds to beginning farmers.  FSA's Down Payment Lan Program asists socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers in purchasing a farm. Retiring farmers may use this program to transfer their land to future generations.

Financing Farming in the U.S.: Nine Case Studies of Community Development Financial Institution Lending in the Farm Production Sector

In June 2011, Financing Farming in the U.S. network members Susan Cocciarelli, with CRFS, and Patty Cantrell, of Regional Food Solutions, Inc., interviewed lenders from community development financial institutions and other organizations with experience in the small and midscale farm sector. This report details those interviews, which addressed a range of considerations involved in entering and participating in the sector as a lender, along with analysis of select loans, both successful and unsuccessful.

Center for Rural Affairs Land Link

The Center for Rural Affairs’ Land Link program provides opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers and established landowners to work together to secure their farming futures. In addition to listing services for new farmers and for landowners, the Center’s Land Link program offers consulting services to facilitate farm transitions.

North American Food Sector, Part 2: Roadmap for City Food Sector Innovation and Investment

The development of this toolset was undertaken in two phases. The project team first conducted a comprehensive literature review to survey the sustainable economic development potential of the food sector nationally, and to assemble a set of innovative case studies to complement the national scan. In the second phase, the team drew upon the evidencebased foundation of the literature and its collective experience and successes to develop the roadmap, focusing upon leverage points in the food system that are within the ability of cities to change.

What Water Quality Trading Programs Need To Know Before Setting Agricultural Baselines

This report addresses this essential element of a Water Quality Trading system (WQT)—putting WQT and baselines into context, presenting current practices, identifying critical issues, assessing findings, and making recommendations. A shorter summary report, designed for policy makers and water quality trading program managers, discusses the types of agricultural baselines and why it is important to choose the right approach.   

Controlling Nutrient Runoff on Farms

This white paper delves into the challenge of managing emissions of commercial and manure fertilizer into our waters. Even when farmers apply fertilizer at recommended agronomic rates, only 30-50 percent of the nitrogen added to the soil is taken up by the plant, with the rest lost to surface run-off, leaching of nitrates, ammonia volatilization or bacterial competition. The paper explores the social, geographic, economic and political factors which make directly regulating farms and ranches to reduce nonpoint pollution impractical and almost impossible.

The Healthy Farmland Diet: How Growing Less Corn Would Improve Our Health and Help America’s Heartland

This report uses an economic model of global trade flows to investigate how the U.S. farm landscape would be altered if Americans started eating more healthfully. The report estimates how changes in demand for certain kinds of foods, and associated price shifts, could affect the supply and demand for other goods and food products, both domestically and through international trade.

Farm Service Agency Beginning Farmer Loans

FSA offers a variety of loan programs to beginning farmers and ranchers.  Each fiscal year, FSA targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers.  These loans are available to individuals and entities that have not operated a farm for more than 10 years; substantially participate in the operation and for farm ownership loans, do not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the median size of their county.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) is a competitive grant program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that funds education, extension, outreach and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers of all types.  The BFRDP is targeted especially to collaborative local, state, and regionally based networks and partnerships.  BFRDP grants have a term of three years and cannot exceed $250,000 per year.  Eligible recipients must provide a cash or in-kind contribution match that is equal to 25 percent o

USDA Farm Service Agency Downpayment Program

FSA has a down payment loan program to assist socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers purchase farms.  Retiring farmers may use this program to transfer their land to future generations.  To qualify, applicants must make a cash down payment of at least five percent of the purchase price.  The maximum loan amount cannon exceed 45 percent of the lesser of a) the purchase price of the farm; b) the appraised value of the farm or; c) $500,000.  This results in a maximum loan amount of $225,000.  Loans are for twenty year terms.  The remaining  balance may be obtained from a commercial lende

USDA Farm Service Agency Microloan Program

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) developed the Microloan (ML) program to better serve the unique financial operating needs of beginning, niche and the smallest of family farm operations.  The program offers flexible access to credit and serves as an attractive loan alternative for smaller farming operations like specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA). These smaller farms, including non-traditional farm operations, often face limited financing options. Eligible applicants may obtain a microloan for up to $35,000.

Successful Farm Transfer Planning for Farmers Without an Identified Successor

This handbook addresses farm succession and transfer when there is no identified, agreeable and well prepared family successor. The guide focuses on the topiocs:

• Assessing your unique situation, goals and values regarding the future of your farm.
• Clarifying your offer to a non-family successor.
• Family decision-making and harmony.
• Finding and bringing on a successor.

Farmland Advisors Webinar: Non-Farming Landowners

Reducing the loss of farmland to development and keeping farmers on the land—two key objectives of American Farmland Trust—are front and center in the Farmland Advisors program developed by the New York State and New England offices of American Farmland Trust. This webinar is part of Farmland Advisors: A Training Program About Farmland Access and Farm Transfers organized by American Farmland Trust and Land for Good.

Farmland Advisors Webinar: Farm Transfer and Estate Planning

Reducing the loss of farmland to development and keeping farmers on the land—two key objectives of American Farmland Trust—are front and center in the Farmland Advisors program developed by the New York State and New England offices of American Farmland Trust. This webinar is part of Farmland Advisors: A Training Program About Farmland Access and Farm Transfers organized by American Farmland Trust and Land for Good.

Farmland Advisors Webinar: Land Access

Reducing the loss of farmland to development and keeping farmers on the land—two key objectives of American Farmland Trust—are front and center in the Farmland Advisors program developed by the New York State and New England offices of American Farmland Trust. This webinar is part of Farmland Advisors: A Training Program About Farmland Access and Farm Transfers organized by American Farmland Trust and Land for Good.

The Federal Estate Tax: Effect on the Farming Community

Farm owners typically have the opposite asset balance. They have invested all of their earnings into increasing and improving farm real estate, often even including “investing” their retirement funds into it. By doing so they are typically “real estate rich and cash poor.” This imbalance provides them with a strong real estate asset to generate business profits but a weak cash position to pay estate taxes. If a farm owner is the final operator of the farm business then the assets can be sold to pay the estate tax liability.

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

USDA defines beginning farmers and ranchers as those who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less either as a sole operator or with others who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less. Beginning farmers tend to be younger than established farmers and to operate smaller farms or ranches, some of which may provide no annual production. Beginning farmers often face obstacles getting started, including high startup costs and limited availability of land.

International Farm Transition Network

The goal of the International Farm Transition Network is to foster the next generation of farmers and ranchers. New transition and tenure strategies for beginning farmers are linked with retirement and farm exit approaches for current farmers. The Network also holds annual conferences to share information, strengthen existing programs and help to establish new programs. 

Federal Aggie Bonds Program Authorization Statute

The federal Aggie Bond Loan Program began in 1980 as a cost-effective way for states to help first-time farmers.  Aggie Bonds are established through a federal-state partnership that allows private lenders to receive federal and/or state tax-exempt interest on loans made to beginning farmers.   Aggie Bond programs are generally run by the state agriculture department or similar authority.

Impacts of the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program: An Assessment Based on Interviews with Participating Landowners--Summary of Findings

To examine the impact of the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), American Farmland Trust (AFT) initiated a study based on interviews with participating landowners. AFT collaborated with Dr. J. Dixon Esseks at the Center for Great Plains Studies of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
 
The research shows that the FRPP:
 
1. Keeps land available for agriculture

Impacts of the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program: An Assessment Based on Interviews with Participating Landowners

To examine the impact of the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), American Farmland Trust (AFT) initiated a study based on interviews with participating landowners. AFT collaborated with Dr. J. Dixon Esseks at the Center for Great Plains Studies of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The research shows that the FRPP saves threatened agricultural land and keeps it available for agriculture. The study also documents how the program improves agricultural viability, encourages on-farm conservation and helps farmers gain access to land.

U.S. Senate Bill 954 (2013)

Every five years, Congress passes a bundle of legislation, commonly called the "Farm Bill" that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008, and expired in 2012. A partial extension was passed on January 1 to extend several expired Farm Bill programs. 

Food Policy Councils: Getting Started

The Food Policy Council (FPC) model has emerged in North America over the last three decades as an attempt to address gaps in food policy and planning. Today, over 200 food policy councils exist across North America in cities, counties, and tribal communities. Food Policy Councils have proven to have significant value, creating new relationships, partnerships, and programs across the private and public sectors.

A Food Systems Overview

Healthy food access is not just about increasing food retail, though that is a critical component. It is also about creating and supporting the food production, processing and distribution infrastructure necessary to get healthy food to the places where it can’t currently be found. Within the food system, there is a great variety of enterprises with a wide spectrum of capital and technical assistance needs. Enterprises all along this continuum need access to the right match of capital and related technical assistance.

Beginning Farmers and Farmers at a Glance: 2013 Edition

USDA programs have targeted assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers since the 1992 Agricultural Credit Improvement Act. Farms or ranches are considered “beginning” if the operators have managed them for 10 years or less. The Economic Research Service has looked at the trend in numbers of beginning farmers and ranchers in recent decades and examined some key characteristics that distinguish them from established farms using the Census of Agriculture and the Agricultural Resource Management Survey.

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