Feb 27, 2012


FSA Announces New Rule Helping Beginning
Farmers With Loans

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced a new rule that expands loan opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The rule allows FSA loan officers to consider all prior farming experience, including on-the-job training and formal education, when determining eligibility for farm operating and ownership loans.

FSA also expanded a previous pilot program, the Land Contract Guaran-tee Program, from six state to all 50 states. This program is designed to encourage farmers and ranchers to sell their property to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the use of seller financing.

The changes in eligibility will increase access for farmers and ranchers to FSA loans and credit. It enables landowners to sell their farmland to the next generation on a contract for deed with a 90% guaran-tee against losses to the seller.

More information can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov.

Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers Available

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT ) has a new publi-cation available to help beginning farmers understand available loan and credit programs. Small- and medium-scale farmers and those new to the world of finance are the target audience. The intention is to help these readers consider a range of options for raising capital and reducing expenses involved in starting a farm, with a bank or government loan as just one tool, albeit an important one, in a whole toolkit of creative possibilities.

Go to the NCAT website at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/local_food/startup.html to their Beginning Farmer page for the above and other publications.

New Study Links Pesticides to Bee Deaths

A new study by Purdue University scientists seems to confirm what has long been suspected -- that the massive bee die-offs known as Colony Collapse Disorder are linked to pesticides. The Purdue research indicates bee deaths are connected to neonicotinoid pesticides, which use a synthetic derivative of nicotine. These chemicals are applied as a coating to corn and soybean seeds prior to planting. They are then absorbed by the plant's vascular system and expressed through pollen and nectar. Farmers have planted millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds since 2003.

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