Could you use additional working capital to take advantage of early booking fall discounts on items such as seed and fertilizer for the 2014 crop?
Could you benefit from extremely low interest rates that are typically 1.5 percent or less?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, the Marketing Assistance Loan Program could be for you. Such loans can help producers greatly expand their marketing alternatives while providing working capital for their operations.
The maximum loan term is nine months. Producers who feed their commodities can also participate in the program with the use of a feed schedule in which they simply pay back a predetermined amount of bushels on the loan each month prior to feeding the commodity.
Marketing assistance loans are available to producers of corn, soybeans, sorghum, small grains, honey, wool and minor oilseeds stored on the farm or in approved off-farm storage. Producers may obtain a loan using the commodity as collateral.
Farm Storage <\n>Facility Loan Program
As we talk with producers and our employees in the county offices, we are hearing reports of high-yielding and good-quality field crops, fruits and vegetables.
In times of high yields, farmers can use the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program to help with the purchase and construction of needed storage for commodities produced by the borrower.
Low-interest loans are available for grains, silage, hay, haylage and honey storage and handling equipment.
The maximum loan amount is $500,000. The eligible components must be new with a useful life of 15 years and permanently affixed. If the loan is less than $50,000, the structure is the only collateral needed for the loan with a few exceptions. If additional security is needed, a mortgage or letter of credit is required.
For eligible grains, financing is available for storage, drying and grain handling systems such as bins, dryers, elevators, augers, etc. For silage and haylage, upright and bunker silos are eligible for loans. If the structure has no resale value, additional security is required.
Hay and renewable biomass storage structures are also eligible under the program. These structures must be built to acceptable design guidelines, be properly drained and withstand the snow load for the area.
Cold storage is an eligible component of the loan program that is available to fruit and vegetable producers. The eligible structures may be of wood pole or post construction, steel or concrete, suitable for storing fruits and vegetables, and include walk-in prefabricated cold-storage coolers.
Begin planning today on the various ways that these programs can assist in the financial success of your operation. If you would like an explanation on how these programs could benefit your particular situation, do not hesitate to contact your local FSA office for more details.
Producers should also remember the importance of the Nov. 15 reporting requirement for all fall-seeded small grains, apiculture, fall forage seeding and PRF/perennial forage.
Beginning with the 2014 crop-reporting season, perennial forage intended as cover only, green manure, left standing or seed must be reported by July 15, 2014.
All other intended uses for perennial forage, such as grazing and forage, must be reported by Nov. 15. Although fees were waived for 2013 late-filed crops, a waiver of late file fees and provisions is not expected for 2014 crops.
Bill L. Wehry is executive director of the Pennsylvania office of USDA’s Farm Service Agency.