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USDA Local Food Initiatives

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to support communities as they build local and regional food systems.

Here are some programs relevant to this effort that are part of the USDA Farm Service Agency

Farm Loans Program

USDA provides loans to farmers and ranchers through local Farm Service Agency county offices, and also works with local banks to provide a government guarantee for farm loans made by those financial institutions to farmers and ranchers.

Farmers and ranchers (including individuals, cooperatives, joint operations, corporations, and partnerships) who are unable to obtain financing from commercial lending sources can apply for direct and guaranteed loans. Direct loans are provided by the government to the farmer or rancher, and guaranteed loans are provided by a local bank with a guarantee from USDA. Funds are available to beginning farmers and ranchers who have been in business for less than 10 years and are family-sized farmers. Funds are also available to women, African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders who are farming or entering into farming. FSA also makes Youth Loans of up to $5,000 to help young people work on an agricultural project in conjunction with local farm organizations.

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

The Farm Storage Facility Loan Program provides low-interest financing so producers can build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits, and vegetables. Eligible facility types include grain bins, hay barns and facilities for cold storage.