New Farmer Lending Resources
Vermont Agricultural Lenders
There are several lending institutions in Vermont that make agricultural loans. The following list of lenders is not intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it puts in one place, the major sources of agricultural financing organizations in the State of Vermont. While banks and other forprofit organizations offer competitive interest rates, governmental lending institutions, such as the USDA Farm Service Agency and the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation, offer entry loans at subsidized rates to encourage business startups. Typically, these subsidized sources have a five to seven year limit on the length of loans, with transfer to the more commercial sources expected at that time. In all cases, however, a detailed business plan, including market analysis, projected first year cash flows, risk management and exit strategies will be expected as a part of the loan application process. Sources for help with this planning should be used prior to any contact with the loan institutions.
Programs and eligibility requirements change regularly, so visit the links or contact the organizations directly for the latest information.
- The Carrot Project. In partnership with Strolling with the Heifers, the Carrot Project is a micro-loan fund addressing the difficulty that some New England farmers have in obtaining credit for projects that improve their operations and increase their income, as well as for emergency needs.
- Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-Vermont) Revolving Loan Fund. The fund supports small scale farmers practicing sustainable agriculture; farmers who lack credit history and therefore could not secure conventional loans; and the need for short-term working capital (http://nofavt.org/programs/farm-financial-resources/revolving-loan-fund).
- USDA Farm Service Agency/ FSA serves agriculture by providing federal program benefits such as annual operating loans and land purchases, commodity price supports, disaster relief, and conservation. (www.fsa.usda.gov/vt). Here is a list of applicable loan programs.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher
Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
Sale of Inventory Properties
Down Payment Farm Ownership
- Vermont Economic Development Authority/Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation. VACC is a nonprofit corporation which provides credit to current or aspiring Vermont farmers and agricultural facilities who are not having their financing needs fully met by conventional agricultural credit sources. Loans are available from VACC to strengthen existing farm operations, encourage diversification, support beginning farmers and to encourage marketing and processing of Vermont agricultural products. (802) 828-5627 or http://www.veda.org/interior.php/pid/1/sid/100).
- Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF). VCLF offers two lending programs relevant to beginning farmers:
Small Business Lending Program loans are aimed at businesses that support sustainable local economies, conserve or expand economically viable uses of Vermont's working landscape and/or natural resources, and/or increase economic opportunities for low-income, disenfranchised or underemployed Vermonters through the creation of livable-wage jobs and quality workplaces. http://www.vclf.org/borrowing/business.html.
Agritourism Program is a revolving loan fund where you may access financing of up to $50,000 at low interest rates. The program focuses on supporting new or existing agricultural enterprises by providing low cost capital for agritourism related projects that help them enhance and diversify their revenue streams,” (Retrieved from http://www.vclf.org/borrowing/agritourism.html).
- Opportunities Credit Union offers micro and small business lending. 800-865-8328.
- Yankee Farm Credit is a farmer-owned, lending cooperative with multiple offices in Vermont. Yankee Farm Credit describes itself as as "an agricultural lender who strives to make a positive difference serving the agricultural community by offering reliable, cost-effective services." Yankee offers short term and long term loans at competitive rates and financial services including:: tax preparation, tax planning, financial recordkeeping, payroll, appraisals, equipment leases, crop insurance and credit life insurance.Yankee is structured as a cooperative which entitles eligible members stockholder voting rights and an opportunity to share in the earnings through the distribution of patronage dividends.
FarmStart is a Yankee Farm Credit program that assists beginning farmers and new cooperatives during their start-up years by providing working capital investments up to $50,000. FarmStart is envisioned as a key element in the success of startup ag businesses and provides an opportunity to develop a successful credit record while learning the discipline of effective cash flow management. The program is targeted to farmers, forestry producers, fishermen, farm-related service businesses and cooperatives, generally in their first three years of business. Each FarmStart participant works with an advisor who helps them follow through with their business plan and encourages recipients to use other professionals to solve problems and develop their business further.
Contacts: White River Jct. 800-370-3276 , Newport 800-370-2738, St. Albans 800-545-1097, Middlebury 800-545-1169 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.yankeeaca.com
- Commercial Banks.There are a few commercial banks in Vermont that make agricultural loans. You may want to start with the institution with whom you already do y our banking, and/or check with an agricultural service provider for local contacts.
Last modified July 17 2013 09:07 AM