The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers farm operating loans to farmers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit. Operating loans may be used to purchase items needed for a successful farm operation. These items include livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, repairs, insurance, and other operating expenses.
Both guaranteed loans and direct loans are available through this program. Eligibility for each type of loan depends on applicant qualifications.
Under the guaranteed loan program, FSA guarantees loans made by conventional agricultural lenders for up to 95 percent of the principal loan amount. The maximum FSA guaranteed operating loan is $1,214,000.
Applicants unable to qualify for a guaranteed loan may be eligible for a direct loan from FSA. Direct loans are made and serviced by FSA officials, who also provide borrowers with supervision and credit counseling. Applicants must show sufficient repayment ability and pledge enough collateral to fully secure the loan. The maximum amount for a direct farm operating loan is $300,000.
To apply for a direct farm operating loan, submit an application form (FSA-2001) and business plan, in addition to other forms required to determine eligibility.
To apply for a guaranteed loan, visit your lender, who will arrange for the guarantee.
To be eligible for a farm operating loan (OL) from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) you must:
Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Not be delinquent on a Federal debt
Not have caused a loss to the Government by having a previous Federal debt forgiven
Not have a poor history of repaying debts
Not have any controlled substance convictions
Be the operator of a "family-sized farm" after the loan is closed (see our Glossary Terms for a definition of family-size farm)
Not have any outstanding judgments against you
Be unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
Applicants must have enough money to repay the loan and enough collateral to fully secure it. Other eligibility criteria apply and can be found on the Farm Service Agency website or by contacting FSA directly.