In 1992, Congress established real estate loan assistance targeted at beginning farmers and ranchers. (7 U.S.C. 1922) Since that time, many programs have been established to further increase the amount of funding and land available to new farmers and ranchers. The 2014 Farm Bill created and enhanced several USDA farm programs aimed at beginning farmers.
In recent years, just over 20 percent of family farms have been classified as beginning farms. A common challenge facing beginning farmers and ranchers is finding available land and securing financing to lease or buy the property. Financing programs exist for farmers to access funds both from public and commercial credit sources. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes direct and guaranteed farm loans.
Farm Service Agency programs include:
- Farm Service Agency Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loans
- Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers Funds
- Farm Service Agency Microloans
Adapted from Beginning Farmers and Ranchers at a Glance, Economic Brief No. EB-22, January 2013.