Farmers loan program available through FSA

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hilbert Hall listened intently to what was said at a meeting for area farmers last Thursday morning at United Bank in Atmore.

Hall was one of many farmers from Escambia, Baldwin and Monroe counties who learned about the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency’s emergency loan and disaster set-aside (DSA) programs.

The FSA provides emergency loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters or quarantine, according to the USDA. The DSA is a program designed to set aside a payment to allow for farming operations to continue after a disaster has struck. The borrowers are located in designated disaster areas or counties who are unable to make their scheduled payment on any FSA debt.

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Recent rain in the last few weeks accumulated some 15 inches of water in the soil, and caused major flooding in neighboring Covington and Coffee counties.

Luckily for Hall, the Poarch and McCullough area farmer was able to pull his row crops up before the rains came.

“I didn’t have a loss,” he said. “I just came to listen.”

Hall has 600 acres of row crops, including cotton and peanuts, among others.

Nicole Massey, farm loan manager for FSA, listed the eligibility requirements for farmers who need assistance.

Massey said farmers can pay one payment per year, at least.

“The loan terms run up to seven years,” she said.

Emergency loans may be made to farmers and ranchers who own or operate land located in a county declared by the president or designated by the secretary of agriculture as a primary disaster area or quarantine area.

Gov. Robert Bentley declared natural disaster areas for several counties in the state in the last few weeks.

Massey said several farmers have been calling in need of assistance.

Other eligibility requirements include:

• farmers and ranchers are established farm operators and have sufficient farming or ranching experience;

• are citizens or permanent residents of the United States;

• have suffered at least 30 percent loss in crop production or a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate or chattel property;

• have an acceptable credit history;

• are unable to receive credit from commercial resources;

• can provide collateral to secure the loan; and,

• have repayment ability.

The loan limit is up to 100 percent of the farmer’s actual production or physical losses to a maximum of $500,000.

The current interest rate is 3.65 percent.

The deadline to apply for loans is Aug. 6, 2016.

The DSA program is for farmers who have direct loans with the FSA.

Farmers need to show that they can pay their debt off, and there is no processing fee for a loan.

To apply for a loan, find an area office or to learn more about the loan programs, farmers can visit