NFU: Addition of Microloans to OL Applications Lauded

25 07 2012

WASHINGTON (July 24, 2012) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted comments today to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency, commending the agency’s proposed modifications to the Operating Loan (OL) application, which would create a new microloan (ML) category to provide flexible capital to farmers requiring operating loans of $35,000 or less. Johnson hailed the new category’s particular benefit to beginning farmers and ranchers.

“NFU members believe that the ability of the next generation of family farmers to continue to produce food and fiber is critical to the economy, health and security of our nation and local communities,” said Johnson. “In order to address this critical concern, the necessary programs must be in place and funded to meet the unique needs and barriers facing beginning farmers and ranchers, with special emphasis on returning military veterans, and ensure they can enter and sustain farming or ranching as a viable livelihood.”

The proposed ML modifications would also streamline and simplify applications to ensure candidates do not spend excessive amounts of time on their paperwork.

“The proposed modifications to the yield reporting requirements will prevent diversified farmers growing a wide variety of produce, for example, from demonstrating inaccurate yields,” said Johnson. “Additionally, decreasing the collateral requirement from 150 percent of the loan amount to 100 percent effectively secures the loan while allowing farmers with limited assets to access credit.”

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