Cover photo for Guaranteed Farm Loans

Guaranteed Farm Loans

Farm Service Agency

About

FSA’s Guaranteed Farm Loan Programs help family farmers and ranchers to obtain loans from USDA-approved commercial lenders at reasonable terms to buy farmland or finance agricultural production. FSA will guarantee farm loans through a commercial lender up to $1,776,000. Financial institutions receive additional loan business as well as benefit from the safety net the FSA provides by guaranteeing farm loans up to 95 percent against possible financial loss of principal and interest.

Guaranteed versus Direct Farm Loans:

With a guaranteed farm loan, the lender is FSA's customer, not the loan applicant. Guaranteed loans are the property and responsibility of the lender. The lender and loan applicant complete the Application for Guarantee and submit it to the FSA Service Center in their lending area. The Service Center works with the commercial lender to process the guarantee. The Farm Loan Officer reviews the application for applicant eligibility, repayment ability, adequacy of collateral, and compliance with other regulations, and if the applicant meets those requirements, the request is approved. The Service Center issues the lender a conditional commitment outlining the terms of the loan guarantee and indicating that the loan may be closed. The lender closes the loan and advances funds to the applicant, after which the Service Center staff issues the guarantee. The lender makes the loan and services it to conclusion. In the event the lender suffers a loss, FSA will reimburse the lender according to the terms and conditions specified in the guarantee.

A direct loan is funded directly by the Agency. The money used for direct loans comes from annual Congressional appropriations received as part of the USDA budget. The Agency is responsible for making and servicing the loan.

Types of Guaranteed Farm Loans:

  • FARM OWNERSHIP loans may be used to purchase farmland, construct or repair buildings and other fixtures, develop farmland to promote soil and water conservation, or to refinance debt.

  • FARM OPERATING loans may be used to purchase livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance, and other operating expenses. Operating loans also may be used to pay for minor improvements to buildings, costs associated with land and water development, family living expenses, and to refinance debt under certain conditions. These loans may be structured as term loans or lines of credit depending upon the purpose and intended term of the loan.

  • The EZ GUARANTEE Program is available for smaller loans. This program provides a simplified Guaranteed Loan application process to help small, new or underserved family farmers with early financial assistance. The EZ Guarantee is available for loan applications up to $100,000 for farm operating or farm ownership purposes. Streamlined financial underwriting is available for these loans, allowing all approved lenders to analyze the request in the same manner in which they would analyze a nonguaranteed loan request of the same size and type. All existing eligibility, loan purpose, security, and other requirements remain the same.

Eligibility

Qualifications:

To qualify for an FSA Guarantee, a loan applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States (or legal resident alien), which includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain former Pacific Trust Territories

  • Have an acceptable credit history as determined by the lender

  • Have the legal capacity to incur responsibility for the loan obligation

  • Be unable to obtain a loan without an FSA guarantee

  • Not have caused FSA a financial loss by receiving debt forgiveness on more than 3 occasions on or prior to April 4, 1996, or any occasion after April 4, 1996, on either an FSA direct or guarantee loan

  • Be the owner-operator or tenant-operator of a family farm after the loan is closed. For an Operating loan, the producer must be the operator of a family farm after the loan is closed. For a Farm Ownership loan, the producer also needs to own the farm

  • Not be delinquent on any Federal debt.

Conservation Loan applicants do not have to meet the "family farm" definition nor do they have to be unable to obtain a loan without an FSA guarantee. All other eligibility requirements must be met.

Terms

Interest Rates:

The Guaranteed loan interest rate and payment terms are negotiated between the lender and the applicant and may not exceed the maximum rates established by FSA.

Repayment Terms:

Repayment terms vary according to the type of loan made, the collateral securing the loan, and the producer's ability to repay. Operating Loans are normally repaid within 7 years and Farm Ownership loans cannot exceed 40 years. Operating Lines of Credit may be advanced for up to five years and all advances must be repaid within 7 years of the date of the loan guarantee.

Resources

Similar Programs

Details

Organization

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Financial Instrument

Loan

Maximum Award Amount

$1,776,000

Image Credit

Valentin Salja

Updated January 28, 2021

This information was gathered from public sources. Ambrook is not responsible for or able to affect the results of any financial programs listed, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed or is on the hyperlinked external sites. All information is subject to change.