Statement of Support for Harkin-Casey Microloan Amendment

Dear Senator:

We, the undersigned organizations, endorse Senator Harkin and Senator Casey’s microloan amendment (SA 2245) to the Farm Bill. The amendment would authorize micro-lending opportunities within the Department of Agriculture.

If adopted, this amendment would allow USDA’s Farm Service Agency to make small loans up to $35,000 tailored to meet the needs of small, young, beginning, and veteran farmers and ranchers. The new loan program would be funded out of the existing direct and guaranteed operating loan portfolios, and would streamline the application process to facilitate participation. This amendment would also give FSA discretionary authority to establish intermediary lender pilot projects in collaboration with non-governmental or community-based organizations.

Capital is the number one need of young and beginning farmers in the United States. The microloan program would enable small and beginning farmers to access capital that meets their needs and reflects the scale of their operations. These farmers are often looking for smaller loans when they’re first getting started in agriculture and have faced significant hurdles in obtaining loans through existing federal credit programs. We strongly encourage members to support this amendment and to include this provision in its entirety in the final Senate bill.

Sincerely,

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Land Stewardship Project
National Young Farmers’ Coalition
Friends of Family Farmers
Michigan Young Farmer Coalition
Fay-Penn Economic Development Council
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Center for Rural Affairs
Iowa Environmental Council
Just Food Center for Land-Based Learning
California FarmLink
Angelic Organics Learning Center
Land For Good
Organic Valley
Zipparo Associates
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
Food Works
Rogue Farm Corps
Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
R. Constantine Family Farm
Root ‘n Roost Farm
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Fayette Broadcasting Corporation
Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA)
New England Farmers Union
The Food Trust
Farm Business Development Center/Liberty Prairie Foundation
Food Democracy Now!
Oregon Rural Action
Farmer Veteran Coalition
Community Food Security Coalition
Oregon Farmers’ Market Association
Adelante Mujeres
Virginia Association for Biological Farming
Seacoast Eat Local
Tilth Producers of Washington
Sustainable Living Systems
Leopold Group, S.E. Iowa Chapter, Iowa Sierra Club
Sustainable Living Project / Local Living Venture
Oregon Tilth
NuRelm Foodshed Alliance
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
Sundhill Farm
Local Food Hub
New CT Farmers Alliance
New Farmers of the Central Coast
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
BeeWench Farm
Food System Economic Partnership nCASE
New Farmers of the Central Coast
Ramah Farmers’ Market
Jardine Meadows
With The Grain
CAMEO – California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity
Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association
Windrose Farm
Practical Farmers of Iowa
Southeastern Young & Beginning Farmers Alliance
Good 4U Inc.
Georgia Organics
Oklahoma Farm and Food Alliance
The Greenhorns