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