University of Vermont

Vermont New Farmer Project Vermont New Farmer Project
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Resource Guide: Vermont New Farmer Network Member Organization

USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA)

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers and ranchers. A beginning farmer or rancher is an individual or entity who (1) has not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years; (2) meets the loan eligibility requirements of the program to which he/she is applying; (3) substantially participates in the operation; and, (4) for FO loan purposes, does not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the average size farm in the county. (Note: all applicants for direct FO loans must have participated in the business operation of a farm for at least 3 years.) If the applicant is an entity, all members must be related by blood or marriage, and all stockholders in a corporation must be eligible beginning farmers.

Maximum Loan Amounts
Maximum amounts of indebtedness are:
• Direct FO or OL: $300,000
• Guaranteed FO or OL: $1,112,000 as of April 7, 2010 (Amount varies annually based on inflation).

Sale of Inventory Farmland
FSA advertises acquired farm property within 15 days of acquisition. Eligible beginning farmers and ranchers are given first priority to purchase these properties at the appraised market value for the first 135 days after acquisition. If more than one eligible beginning farmer or rancher offers to purchase the property, the buyer is chosen randomly. Visit the USDA website for properties available for sale at

Where to Apply
Applications for direct loan assistance may be submitted to the FSA local office serving the area where the operation is located. Local FSA offices are listed below. For guaranteed loans, applicants must apply to a commercial lender who participates in the Guaranteed Loan Program. Local FSA offices have lists of participating lenders.

Farm Programs Overview
The Farm Service Agency administers farm production, price support, environmental conservation, and disaster assistance programs. Following is a summary of the programs that are available. Please call for more information or to be put on our newsletter mailing list.

Disaster Assistance
• Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) -- financial assistance for catastrophic noninsured crop production losses due to natural disaster.
• Supplemental Revenue Program (SURE) -- monetary reimbursement for crop production losses due to natural disaster when authorized by Congress.
• Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) -- cost sharing to repair land damaged by torrential rain and restoration of failed livestock watering facilities during drought.

Environmental Conservation Programs
• Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) -- provides annual land rental payments up to 15 years and cost sharing assistance to install water quality enhancement practices on environmentally sensitive land.
• Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) -- State and Federal partnership allowing incentive payments to landowners who set aside environmentally sensitive land along streams or field boundaries.

Crop Price Support
• Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) payments based on the farm’s crop production history. Partner counter-cyclical payments are made when market prices are low to help offset the difference.
• Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL) -- low interest loans to help finance grain and silage storage facilities.
• Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) -- monthly payments to milk producers when market prices are low.
• Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP) -- provides funds to commodity producers when the national market price is lower than the loan price. LDP’s are ‘grants’, and do not have to be repaid at any time.

Vermont FSA Offices
All of the following offices administer farm programs. Loan programs are administered at four of these locations, and are noted as such. Please contact the office in your location for more information:

• Addison County 388-6748, 1-800-408-3783 ~ Loan Office
• Caledonia/Essex County 748-2641
• Chittenden/Washington County 865-7895
• Franklin / Grand Isle County 527-1296, 1-800-717-8637
• Lamoille County 888-4935
• Orleans County 334-6090, 1-888-241-2190 ~ Loan Office
• Rutland / Bennington County 775-8969
• Windham County 254-9766
• Windsor / Orange County 295-7942, 1-800-789-6713

Web Site:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C., 20250-9410, or call (202)720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Last modified August 12 2010 08:09 PM